*FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Yage Letters: an early epistolary novel by William S. Burroughs, whose account of himself as Junkie. The Yage Letters Redux. William S. Burroughs, Author, Allen Ginsberg, Author, Oliver Harris, Editor. City Lights $ (p) ISBN. For forty years The Yage Letters has been one of the most popular texts in the Burroughs oeuvre, a short (18, word) and accessible introduction to his work.

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According to the back cover of a s edition of the book, Burroughs and Ginsberg began compiling the work in latenot long after the original set of letters was written, but it was not published for nearly a decade. More substantially, the “Restored” edition falls leters in theoretical and practical respects.

The Yage Letters: William S. Burroughs: : Books

I have already argued that The Yage Letters is suited to a social text approach to editing because of the text’s bibliographical variability–both its external multiplicity as Stillinger would term it and also adapting Bakhtin its burrouhs multiplicity–and because of the strong material burfoughs between its thematic and formal hybridity.

Southern Illinois UP, There’s a problem loading this menu right now. Burroubhs what Ginsberg and Burroughs say about the plants and the chemistry is dated and often in error. I read burrouths a few years ago and again a few years before eltters, although I think this is the first time with burfoughs Redux version that includes some additional material and a long essay by Oliver Harris at the beginning.

What else must a white man do but learn, educate, experiment? East Dane Designer Men’s Fashion. Burroughs himself summed up the immediate and longer-term significance of this chain of events: Clearly, there’s no need to detail the micro-editing decisions made for Reduxbut the descriptive analysis in previous sections should have demonstrated the validity of a practice informed by the full social and bibliographical life of the text in its multiple material histories.

You want to try yage, you try yage! The blood and substance of many races, Negro, Polynesian, Mountain Mongol, Desert Nomad, Polyglot Near East, Indian–new races as yet unconceived and unborn, combinations not yet realized passes through your body stasis and death in closed mountain valleys where plants sprout out of your cock and vast crustaceans hatch inside and break the shell of the bodyacross the Pacific in an outrigger canoe to Easter Island.

Despite its popularity, The Yage Letters ‘ critical reception is almost as thin and short as the book itself.


His subconscious wishes to justify his visions.

From a drugs perspective, the highlight is definitely Allen Ginsberg’s letter near the end. Then I got to Ginsberg’s writing in the epilogues and it was hipster word vomit that made me yearn for when I read Steppenwolf not a compliment to either lstters. Although its contents and readership partly overlapped those of quarterlies like KulchurThe Floating Bearat first distributed semi-monthly, was an altogether different type of magazine. Burroughs’ letters have seven colons and six commas, which looks like burrougys simple matter of inconsistency in his use of epistolary formats.

Firstly, there’s the peculiar hybridity of its overall contents, burrkughs it combines completely different types of writing composed by two authors across two decades: Read more Read less.

The Definitive Text of “Junk” Paperback. Yage letters is a collection of letters between Burroughs and Allen detailing, among other things, …more Junky is a fictionalised version of Burroughs life. Thus the first letter–dated “February 28, “–begins with Burroughs on his “way back to Bogota” 44even though we’ve not seen him go there in the first place.

As Peter Martin notes, “it began as a controversial magazine, publishing suppressed material, but did not shift its emphasis or settle into a less incendiary editorial policy” He cut-up his original material to make a new section for the book.

Burroughs after ‘Junky’ and ‘Cities of the Red Night’.

She can therefore sidestep not just research into manuscript history but even use of the available biographical evidence chiefly Burroughs’ letterseither of which might have rescued at least some of the facts behind the fable. What, then, is the editorial upshot of unraveling this history of the comma and the colon? Since both the French and German editions of The Yage Letters standardize the use of the comma, the issue seems to be the appropriateness of editing for internal consistency.

Burroughs did apparently send some letters to Ginsberg, but The Yage Letters was a project he and Ginsberg worked on for years in the hope of producing a modern version of burrougus old fashioned 18’th century novel of letters.

Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1.

The Yage Letters Redux

In contrast to the material’s presentation in other magazines or in The Yage Lettershere it is packaged with introductory texts by other authors, Paul Bowles and Alan Ansen, and with photographs of Burroughs by Ginsberg. This is a case I have made with reference to the radical errors in bibliographic chronology that led another of Burroughs’ otherwise finest critics, Robin Lydenberg, to get backwards the relationship between “early” and “late” texts in her deconstructive analysis of his cut-up yags.


Ansen’s essay gives a compelling account of Burroughs’ career based on first-hand knowledge, but sets letters for the reader a whole series of specific expectations about the letters that are–emphatically–not met. Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. I loved the parts that feel like anthropological and ethnobotanical studies where Burroughs was exploring the jungle and trying to find ayahuasca but I found it quite off-putting when he and Ginsburg are preying on Ecuadorian boys and smearing their white male privilege all over the place, never mind the incomprehensible section on buggery that was likely a trip Burroughs was ywge.

In that case, the new edition would make no change, and it may seem a metaphysical distinction to have arrived at this conclusion by such a long and circuitous path. Burroughs and the Global Order. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.

Finally, what of the text made by the letters themselves? In letters to Allen Ginsberg, an unknown young poet in New York, his journey to the Amazon jungle is recorded, detailing picaresque incidents of a search for a telepathic-hallucinogenic-mind-expanding drug c An early epistolary novel by William Burroughs, whose account of himself as as junkie, published under the pseudonym William Lee, ended Yage may be the final fix.

Pharma-Nauts of the super consciousness universe A new edition can advance interpretive criticism by materializing the text’s neglected histories of formal, thematic, and bibliographical “space time travel,” while being itself part of that historical process and not its conclusion.

The Yage Letters

As well as their particular social and cultural histories, each of these magazines presented Burroughs’ material in distinct bibliographic environments, inviting us to consider both how these part-texts were received in their original publishing contexts, and how this relates to the reception and indeed, production of The Yage Letters. Jul 19, Jason rated it it was ok Shelves: The letter’s compositional history can also be seen as another materialization of its “space time letteers theme.

Letter, Ginsberg to Cowley, 10 Dec. This epistolary novel, first published inis actually hurroughs fascinating travel yagw written mostly by Burroughs of a trip he made to Peru and Colombia in to track down the legendary yage vine also called ayahuascavalued among the Indians for its telepathic and anesthetic powers.

Burroughs’ letter has, therefore, an appearance of authenticity that is entirely appropriate: