The Naked Lunch (First British Edition). William S. Burroughs.
The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)
The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)
The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)
The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)
The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)

The Naked Lunch (First British Edition)

London, England: John Calder, 1964. First UK Edition. Hardcover. (Maynard & Miles, A2c, pgs. 11-14; Shoaf, Section I, No. 2t, pg. 20; Schottlaender, A2d, pg. 3). “The Naked Lunch is one of the most important and most controversial novels to have appeared since the war…Burroughs is at the same time the central figure in the ‘beat’ movement and the principal American post-Joycean, using and creating language in a new way to explore the very extremes of consciousness and of dream reality…Burroughs has used his own experiences as a former drug addict, and the extraordinary residue of unusual knowledge that these experiences left with him, to write a satirical masterpiece that cuts like a scalpel under the surface skin of reality to the festering sores that plague modern man underneath…The publishers believe that this book is one of the greatest contemporary masterpieces of creative fiction and worthy to stand beside the work of Joyce, Kafka, Eliot and Beckett, with all of whom, Burroughs has much in common.” (Abridged from Back Cover blurb). With such evangelistic certainty trumpeting William S. Burroughs' “formal” in-print “arrival” on the London literary-cultural scene, it is no wonder why the itching-to-be-corrupted Boys & Girls of Postwar England would welcome him with open veins. Like an aerosolized virus breaching the crash-pad encampments of the London literary “underground,” the word and the wisdom of Old Bull Lee came over them, soon finding his influence as much a cultural exorcism as a rite of passage. This seeming overnight coronation was not as spontaneous of an event as one might assume, however, because by late 1964 Burroughs been in London for some time. He was published widely (and with great enthusiasm) by a syndicate of Mimeograph Revolution publishers like Jeff Nuttall, whose subversive “My Own Mag” featured WSB contributions now considered “the stuff of legend,” orgiastic daydreams in the frenzied minds of collectors that send them diving for their wallets even today. As all Double-Barrell Burroughsians surely know, Burroughs had come to England principally for the apomorphine-based “heroin cure” of Dr. John Yerbury Dent, who published a paper on his “cure” in the British Journal of Addiction. Burroughs himself wrote back to Dent through the Journal in the “Vol. 52, No. 2” issue. This took the form of his now-famous “LETTER FROM A MASTER ADDICT TO DANGEROUS DRUGS,” which appears at the end of the text (of TNL as published here), serving as a latter-half bookend to its prior-half complement, the equally-famous “Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness.” The scarce, highly sought-after UK First Edition was published on November 19, 1964 in an edition of 4,000 copies printed in Great Britain by The Villafield Press, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. Given the importance of the London (and the UK more generally) to Burroughs’ intercontinental life and intergalactic mind, a Hardcover UK First Edition of Naked Lunch belongs in the libraries of each and every Double-Barrell Burroughsian. Book in very fine condition with only mild shelf-wear, minute discoloration to fine-edges; gilt title, author name and publisher’s logo on spine impressively shiny, as if the dust-jacket had rarely (if ever) been taken off of the book; minute spotting to top of text block, smallest smudging from publisher’s glue [not affecting pages themselves]; only other item of note is a leftover newspaper cutting from a “Wednesday June 6, 1990” issue of the Hartford Courant, in which is featured an article titled: “JFK Officers Sinking In Quicksand As Heroin Experiences A Renaissance.” Despite the fact that “The Naked Lunch” is not itself a cut-up, it was the curious, mind-bending sense of ‘echoed realities’ Burroughs & Gysin posited the Cut-Ups to engineer or reveal that we find near the source of their (and our) personal fascination(s) with the method and the men who pioneered it. The newspaper cutting, which has left the most minute yellowing where it has sat undisturbed for 31 years, appears on pgs. 198-199 where the WSB Routine “Coke Bugs” appears in the text. The second sentence of this Routine is: “Morning sun outlined The Sailor in the orange-yellow flame of junk.” Cut-Up or Coincidence? Unrestored and unclipped dust-jacket in fine condition (esp. in comparison to most all extant specimens) with only minute shelf-wear, some rubbing to front cover near bottom right-hand corner, rightmost fine-edge; slight, scattered cracking, minute chipping to same; very tiny stain at top right-hand corner of same; single tiny brown spot to the right of the “H” in “The Naked Lunch” (on-the-nose, d’you reckon?) of same; age-typical toning to spine, slight chipping to topmost, bottommost fine-edge of same; topmost fine-edge of interior front flap with modest shelf-wear; slight bump at top right-hand, left-hand corner of same; interior back flap remarkably clean with only slightest shelf-wear to topmost fine-edge and a speck-sized instance of bumping, chipping at top right-hand corner of same; back cover especially clean, with modest shelf-wear and rubbing to fine-edges and two tiny instances of chipping at top right, bottom right-hand corner near spine-edge. The pictures and the uniqueness of this specimen speak for themselves, and this will surely become a treasured addition to whatever collection it graces. Very Fine / Fine. [Item #4521]

Price: $500.00