Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William S. Burroughs papers, 1957-1976

Series V: Addition to the Papers, 2017 & 2018

Accession 2017.2018.M020

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Cut-Up Typescript Materials for The Nova Trilogy:

In 1959, Brion Gysin cut newspaper articles into sections and rearranged the cuttings at random. The results of this radical literary collage technique was published asMinutes To Goby Two Cities Editions/Jean Fanchette, Paris (1960) containing works by Sinclair Beiles, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso and Brion Gysin

Box 6 Folder 1 Typescript cut-up of about 60 pieces (ranging from one sentence to 45 lines)

Most are of some length and all deal with Burroughs' most notable themes and his revolutionary method of writing

Box 6 Folder 2 & 3 Typescript cut-up (blue ribbon copy) of 82 pieces, average measurement 4 x 3 inches, amounting to about 18 pages mss

Most pieces contains from 75 to 150 words

Box 6 Folder 4 125-130 pieces [of] news fragments," mostly from New York daily newspapers c. 1965. These are mostly cut up newspaper stories (many very small and fragile) and photos rather than whole clippings.

A few pages of his cut ups are extracts from his own publications

"Intersection pictures and texts":

Box 6 Folder 5-8 118 news clippings, some with comments typed in red by WSB, including passages identified from Nova Express

Mostly from NY daily newspapers 1964-65. Photos of car crashes, gangland killings, narcotics addicts, cops, political scandals, warfare, color cartoons, homoerotic pictures, space exploration; paperback cover and printed review slip The Dutch Schultz Story, with a chapter extracted which was his research material for his own book, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (1969). With some of his own writings excised from his publications.

Many of the individual pieces in these folders fit together, suggesting a late draft of at least one of those early novels on which his reputation rests may have been finalized from the larger of these fragments. Many primary themes and characters in the Nova series (the Old Man of the Mountain, Doctor Benway, Towers-Open Fire, junkies and narcs, the Lexington Kentucky Narcotics Farm, childhood memories, orgasms, Martian and science-fiction landscapes. dead star fading, the recurring date September 17, 1899 that appears in these works, etc.) are found in these cut-up texts.

"This Is the Time of the Assassins":

Box 6 Folder 9 "This Is the Time of the Assassins." Carbon typescript, 4 pages, with a half dozen ink corrections, including three words inserted in ink and the pages numbered in the author's hand

One of Burroughs' most iconic texts, the title from Rimbaud, and likely the first appearance in the author's work of Hassan-i-Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountain, segueing to "Tanger present tense." First published in Metronome, Aug.1961, and later incorporated in the novel, Nova Express (1964). From all appearances this is the author's retained copy of the original sent to Metronome.

Brion Gysin A Quick Trip to Alamut:

Box 6 Folder 10 "A Quick Trip to Alamut: The Celebrated Castle of the Hash-Head Assassins." [1973]. 27pp contemporary photocopy of the original typescript, heavily corrected and revised in the photocopy by the author

This is basically the third draft of the text, incorporating the first 22 pages of the second draft and the final five pages of the first draft.

Although not having anything in the recipient's hand, this was the copy sent by Gysin to his close friend and collaborator, William S. Burroughs, as it came from a sale of the latter's personal archival materials.

Burroughs, who did not go on the trip, nonetheless has a significant part in Gysin's narrative (there is reference to Timothy Leary as well, and the idea of LSD in the water supply), an account of Gysin's trip to the famous castle at Alamut of Hassan+ Sabbah, leader of the late llthth century assassin cult made famous by Marco Polo, the first European to visit him. Hassan-i-Sabbah was a major influence on both writers going back to the early '60s.

This corrected typescript is the basis of the first published edition by Ink Blot in a collection of Gysin's short works, "Who Runs May Read" (2000), more than 25 years after it was written in 1973.

Box 6 Folder 11 Who Runs May Read. Oakland: Inkblot, 2000

1st edition. 99 copies printed. Bookplate of The Psychedelic Library--Michael and Cynthia Horowitz.

Box 6 Six loose, now empty, folders which at one time contained the material described above. The folder for "Intersection pictures and texts" is so labeled by Burroughs

Box 6 Folder 12 Assorted bills and receipts from hotels in Portugal, Morocco, and Spain, 1964 & 1965

Accession 2018.2019.M013