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Last Words William S. Burroughs

Last Words By William S. Burroughs

Last Words by William S. Burroughs

Condition - Very Good
5 in stock


Towards the end of his life Burroughs was writing only in his journals. These are the final thoughts of one of the world's most extraordinary writers, who died in 1997, after a lifetime of notoriety - the granddaddy of the Beats, druggy, dangerous and bleak.

Last Words Summary

Last Words by William S. Burroughs

William Burroughs died in August 1997, after a lifetime of notoriety. In his final years, he was writing only in his journals. The last nine months of his diaries are here, in Last Words, and they form a complex, rarely seen, personal portrait of Burroughs at the end of his life, coming to terms with aging and death. Although well into his eighties, the man we see is nevertheless the same old Burroughs, still riling against the Establishment, still contemptuous of the state of the human race, still shocking, bleak and very funny. Full of anecdotes and memories, entries on the joys of housekeeping, dealing with doctors, shooting a video with U2, musings on his beloved cats, drug-taking and government cover-ups, Last Words shows us a man reflective but still engaged with the state of the world. Most significantly, these journals contain some of the most brutally personal prose Burroughs has ever written. His thoughts on the deaths of his friends Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary provide a window onto the preparations Burroughs was making for his own profound sense of guilt and loss. Last Words is unilke anything else in the oeuvre of William Burroughs. It is the purest, most personal work ever presented by this writer, an a poignant portrait of the man, his life and his creative process - one that never quit, even in the shadow of death.

Last Words Reviews

'He is a writer of enormous richness whose books are a kind of attempt to blow up this cosy conspiracy, to allow us to see the truth.' J.G. Ballard 'At eighty-three, Burroughs was living in a two-bedroom cottage in Lawrence, Kansas, with his menagerie of cats. After taking his daily dose of methadone in the morning -- he became readdicted in New York in 1980 -- he spent the afternoons reading and writing right up until his death in August 1997. Last Words collects these daily jottings in his notebooks, the entire literary output from the last nine months of his life... With only the love of his cats, literature and methadone left, these journals make for unbearably poignant reading. Unlikely as it may sound, Bill Burroughs was only human after all.' The Times 'With his canes, suits and absurd fedoras, William S. Burroughs was the dandy manque who invented geek chic and made modernism available to the hippie masses... Now that Burroughs' final journals have been published, edited by his companion and literary executor, James Grauerholz, a comprehensive sense of the man and his achievement, for better and for worse, is at last available. Grauerholz's introduction and notes are a fine mixture of fact and feeling, and make Last Words a synthetic whole... The journals are an exploration in depth, and in sum, of Burroughs' personality and creative pre-occupations... [a] rich repetition, with variations, of a string of half-conscious fancies, scenarios and literary allusions. Last Words also presents fresh clues to the larger design of his imagination, and a means of gaining a renewed perspective on his work.' New York Times 'Where is the cavalry, the spaceship, the rescue squad? asked William Burroughs on May 26 1997. He didn't realize that it was on its way: three months later, he was dead... Last Words reveals the author of Naked Lunch riddled with arthritis and still saddled with guilt for shooting his common-law wife in 1951. Although he seems more vulnerable than ever before, the anti-establishment anger continues to flare up at odd moments, his skewed sense of humour still sends out sparks.' Time Out 'There's a savage glamour about William Burroughs, both in his writing and his life... Last Words, made during the last nine months of his life, shows him to be as sharp-minded as ever.' Ham & High 'The entries in Last Words were made as Burroughs came to terms with his impending demise, and they are at once elegiac and filled with a curious kind of contentment at the way things have turned out. For the first and only time, he reveals a gentler self, full of years and filled with grace. He was a great American writer to the end.' Gay Times 'A fascinating read. A mixture of the insane, the inane, and the startlingly perceptive, they at first appear to be no more than the uncontrolled effluvium of a mad junkie's mind. But then, suddenly, one begins to see a pattern, as if the smashed fragments of a mosaic still discernibly keep a memory of their proper arrangement... Burroughs surfaces among his words as a bent, acute, watchful, irritated, clever old man, like a sparkling eye peering out from the greasy broken panes of a dilapidated building. Occasional lines and phrases catch one's breath.' Financial Times 'Last Words is filled with memories and reminiscences delivered in staccato poignancy. Burroughs cuts up his recollections and dreams, merging, always playfully, sometimes painfully, fact with fiction... A welcome addition to the extensive Burroughs oeuvre.' Scotsman

About William S. Burroughs

Born in 1914, died in 1997, and one of postwar America's most influential writers. A Harvard drop-out, he lived in Mexico, Tangier and the UK, and was for many years a heroin addict. He began writing in the 1930s but had little success until the early 1950s when he wrote two confessional books about his drug addiction and homosexuality, themes that continued to dominate his work.

Additional information

Last Words by William S. Burroughs
Used - Very Good
HarperCollins Publishers
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Last Words