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Junky (1953) - William S. Burroughs

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Junky (1953) - William S. Burroughs
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Junkie (also titled with the alternative spelling, Junky) is a semi-autobiographical novel by William S. Burroughs. First published in 1953, it was Burroughs' first published novel and has come to be considered a seminal text on the lifestyle of heroin addicts in the early 1950s. Burroughs' working title for the text was Junk. It was first published by pulp publisher Ace Books which primarily catered to New York City subway riders, and competed in the same market as comic book, real crime and detective fiction publishers. Most libraries at the time did not buy Ace books, considering them trivial and without literary merit, and Ace paperbacks were never reviewed by literary critics. At the time of its publication, the novel was in a two-book ("dos--dos") omnibus edition (known as an "Ace Double") alongside a previously published 1941 novel called Narcotic Agent by Maurice Helbrant. Burroughs chose to use the pseudonym "William Lee", Lee being his mother's maiden name, for the writing credit. The subtitle of the work was Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict. This edition is a highly desired collectible and even below-average condition copies have been known to cost hundreds of dollars. In 1992 The United States Library of Congress purchased a copy for its Rare Book/Special Collections Reading Room, catapulting Junky to the literary canon.--[1]

Amazon review

Before his 1959 breakthrough, Naked Lunch, an unknown William S. Burroughs wrote Junk, his first book, a candid, eyewitness account of times and places that are now long gone. This book brings them vividly to life again; it is an unvarnished field report from the American postwar underground. For this definitive 50th-anniversary edition, eminent Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has painstakingly re-created the author's original text, word by word, from archival typescripts. Here for the first time are Burroughs's own unpublished Introduction and an entire omitted chapter, along with many "lost" passages and auxiliary texts by Allen Ginsberg and others. Harris's comprehensive Introduction reveals the composition history of Junk's text and places its contents against a lively historical background. --amazon.com Book Description

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