William Burroughs Conversation – 2

Junkie (sic) – (“Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict”) by William Lee (sic) – first publication of William Burroughs novel in a dos-à-dos omnibus edition from Ace Books (“Ace Double”), alongside Maurice Helbrant’s previously-published 1941 novel, Narcotic Agent

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso on William Burroughs continuing from here

AG:  ..South America. So, for an account of that time (you could) read Junkie, and then read..

GC: Yage Letters

AG: Yeah. Yage Letters, and then the recently-prepared manuscript of Queer

GC: About time!

AG: ..which I received bound-proofs of (and which are now in the Naropa Library for those of you who want to look at it)

GC: But why did he deny it for publication?  (to Burroughs, who is there, present): Why did you deny it for publication?

AG: Now my understanding of that was… We finished the manuscript and we did actually show it to, I think Ace Books, Carl Solomon

GC: It could well have been badly written?

AG: No, it was too short…and also the material..  It was only eighty pages or so, so it wasn’t a full novel..

GC: Eighty pages? – class!

AG: and the material was of such a nature that in those days it couldn’t be printed, because there was censorship in those days. This is, remember, 1953.

GC: Yeah, but it”s now,.. bring it out now!  (1985) [Editorial note – it was subsequently published that Fall, November 1985)]

AG:  No, but I thought you were asking why it wasn’t published then?

GC: Ah!

AG: So I was explaining. We did show it to Ace books, but in those days, 1953, for those of the listeners who don’t remember, there was total censorship on literature then. That was before….

WSB: (with regard to Junkie)

AG: Yeah…. It was… Ace Books was run by… the editor there was Carl Soloman, and his uncle, what was his name, do you remember?
Ted Morgan: A. A. Wyn
AG: A.A.Wyn. A. A. Wyn ran a paperback series called Ace Books, which had printed Junkie, in what? 1950?
WSB:  No, 1953

AG: Junkie came out in (19)53?
GC: Yes, I remember, I was there, around the time.
AG: I don’t remember!
GC: You remember (19)53 – he and I meeting
AG: Yes, yes, but I was wondering when did Junkie come out?
Ted Morgan: 1953
AG: Okay, I think we need a hand-microphone for the people (in the audience) See, we’re depending on memory..
GC: No, we’ll do alright. If we fuck up, he (Burroughs)’ll tell us..

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately two-and-a-half minutes in and continuing to approximately four-and-a-half minutes in

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