Olympia 4. William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Walter Lowenfels, Nazli Nour.
Olympia 4

Olympia 4

Paris, France: Olympia Press, 1963. First Edition. Softcover. (Maynard & Miles C54, p. 122). “With bitter hilarity William Burroughs blasts our mismanaged and deranged planet. The section printed here is a continuous excerpt from his latest novel, ‘The Ticket That Exploded.’ Readers unfamiliar with Burroughs’ fold-in technique of writing may appreciate the author’s explanation of what he’s about: ‘My writing methods are similar to those of photographic montage. I want some of my characters in focus and others out of focus. So I cut into the story with a flash-forward in the narrative to give a hint of what is to come.’ What comes is a macabre obsessive science fiction universe, abandoned by drugs and sexual exploitation. ‘Naked Lunch,’ the novel which propelled William Burroughs into the literary orbit (he was already a light to many writers, having lived what he was to write about) was first published in Paris by Olympia Press, later published in America, and is currently being translated for a French edition. This book and the two that followed have aroused the sensational critical controversy that only major transitions in art provoke. But as critics and writers finally decide why they loathe or revere Burroughs, he takes another leap further out.” (from Blurb that appears below Burroughs’ contribution, pg. 10-11). A relic of Paris in the early 1960s, these once bimonthly literary compilations from the great-&-pioneering publisher Maurice Girodias and his Olympia Press are time stamped artifacts of a lost era in art and literature. Unsurprisingly, this issue contains the work of William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso—acclimated denizens of what came to be known as “The Beat Hotel” on 9 Rue Git Le Coeur. Burroughs appears with an episode from “The Ticket That Exploded,” while Corso appears at his erratic best with three poems: “Train wreck;” “Body fished from the Seine;” and “A French boy’s Sunday.” Walter Lowenfels contributes an extremely interesting short essay about the “many loves” of Walt Whitman, which surprisingly were not all homosexual relationships; Lowenfels examines veritable evidence of Whitman’s sexual relations with women well into his 50s. A more contemporary scholarly-cultural curiosity also appears in this issue: a then-young female writer just out of her teens named Nazli Nour, who appears with a suite of evocative prose poems gathered under the title “The Trial of Gretchen Green.” Book in very good condition, showing some age and relative fragility with vertical crease running length of spine and tiny closed tear at top of interior of front cover at spine; modest rubbing to front, back covers; minor gauge-tear visible at front cover near rightmost fine-edge; minor shelf-wear to fine-edges. Very Good. [Item #3992]

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