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Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (Burroughs, William S.) Paperback – June 22, 2000

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more
$15.39 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The deadpan granddad of postmodernism is well represented in this bountiful collection of fiction, essays and collaborations from all stages of Burroughs's (1914-1997) long career. Burroughs's companion, longtime editor and literary executor Grauerholz, and Grove editor Silverberg include selections from the writer's better-known works, as well as sections of the experimental "cut-up" novels?complete enough to give readers a feel for the form without exhausting those unaccustomed to Burroughs's disjointed sharpness. Dark humor runs throughout the collection, from the 1938 collaboration "Twilight's Last Gleamings," in which the cross-dressing captain of a sinking ship murders his way onto a lifeboat, to a wry account of Burroughs's stint as a cockroach exterminator. What may prove most valuable to readers is the inclusion of Burroughs's commentary on his aims and intent. "Remembering Jack Kerouac" recalls the way the younger Kerouac prodded Burroughs to write. In the manifesto "Les Voleurs," Burroughs celebrates "stealing" words, a cure for "the fetish of originality." Perhaps most surprising are the passages both melancholic and elegiac, such as this, from The Western Lands: "A tree like black-lace against a gray sky. A flash of joy." In a selection from My Education, Burroughs provides an apt description for this collection: "Each page is a door to everything is permitted."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This judiciously edited collection contains representative excerpts from a lifetime's published work, ranging from Junkie (1953) to My Education: A Book of Dreams (1995). It also features the initial chapter of "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks," an unpublished novel coauthored with Jack Kerouac. The selections, tracing "recurring themes and characters in Burroughs's work," are arranged more or less chronologically in nine sections. Grauerholz, Burroughs's longtime friend and literary executor, opens each section with an essay that provides biographical, historical, and textual background. A CD sampler of Burroughs performing some of his most memorable routines accompanies the text, and the sound of Burroughs's voice is sure to enhance a new reader's appreciation of his prose. An excellent introduction to the man and his work, this carefully designed reader belongs in all literature collections.?William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Burroughs, William S.
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Printing edition (June 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080213694X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802136947
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mojo Brown on February 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
A very exspansive and definitive collection for the Burroughs enthusist. This does not have it all, but it does offer a generous portion of this man's work. Including the forementioned, in the other reviews, colaboration with Jack Kerouac. Grauerholz really put togther this labor of love. I'd recomend it for first timers as well as old time collectors. Inbetween each chapter biographical information pertinent to that era is included. Also features a cd spoken word sampler, that pulls material from the Giornio boxed set. I'd also recomend that hefty delight.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Bushell on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Every book that anyone owns will, upon reflection, remind them of the period of their life in which they read the book. Sort of like music.
If I look at my bookcase, I can run my eyes over the spines of a hundred or so spines, and by extension, a hundred or so feelings given to me from those books.
'Word Virus' is by no means an exception to this rule. If anything, it proves it. Simply due to its extensiveness, and the complexity (or stupidity depending on how you look at it) of Burroughs' writing, it took me a few months to hack through in my final year of high school. Even now, the glaring red spine amongst my other books manages to evoke my feelings of that time even now.
But by god it's worth it. There is nothing more frightening than Burroughs' prose. Everything he writes cannot be understood intellectually, but rather emotionally. You read his words, trying to make head or tail of what is printed in front of you, but that's not the point. You just have to let his ideas, his experiments simply wash over you and you'll understand them in due course.
A true shining light in literature.
Belive the myth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
in the word virus collection william s. burroughs is represented in all of his fragmented glory. from talking body parts, to sublminal kids, from street junky's to hindu spiritual presences. burroughs wandered in a world of his own and while a lot of his books scare or confuse first time readers, the word virus jumps styles frequently enough to hold the attention while giving those in the know, new items as well as some possibly overlooked personal insights from the writer himself. and the free cd gives you a sense of his true humor and will make you want that phat box set! and i haven't even finished it yet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By scrooge on July 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you need a quick fix of Bill, you'll be in hog heaven as you lug this big tome around. If you're a newbie, this is the petri-dish place to begin. A remarkable labour of love, smartly compiled, spanning the master's entire range of work, with generous excerpts from all periods and supplemental explanatory notes by both Grauerholz and, periodically, Burroughs. Do not hesitate. Minutes To Go.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was a hard one to review. The writings sampled are inconsistent-but then again, so was Burroughs's output, so in that respect the writings are a true representation of Burroughs's corpus. The chapter introductions by Grauerholz are especially valuable for readers who are removed from Burroughs's original context, and assist in further illuminating Burroughs's writings. The later works (after the "cut-ups") are especially prophetic; it was interesting to read Burroughs's commentaries on Hussein and another Bush in 2003. All in all, a useful and comprehensive introduction to one who is seeking to get acquainted with the wide range of work that came from the pen of Burroughs.
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Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (Burroughs, William S.)
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