"A BOOK OF GREAT BEAUTY, GREAT DIFFICULTY AND MANIACALLY EXQUISITE INSIGHT": FIRST EDITION OF BURROUGHS' NAKED LUNCH, A BEAUTIFUL COPY
BURROUGHS, William. The Naked Lunch. Paris: Olympia Press, (1959). Small octavo, original green and white paper covers, original dust jacket. Housed in custom clamshell box. $5000.
First edition, first issue, of one of the most controversial novels of the 20th century—"not to be sold in the U.S.A. or U.K.," in scarce original dust jacket.
Allen Ginsberg initially drew attention to Naked Lunch in his 1955 dedication to Howl, hailing Burroughs' work as "an endless novel which will drive everybody mad." Jack Kerouac volunteered to type Burroughs' manuscript, but reneged after completing the first two chapters because its disturbing imagery caused him to have nightmares (Miles, 6, 9, 79). It was Ginsberg who finally submitted the unsightly, tattered manuscript that "smelled like trouble" to Maurice Girodias, founder of the Olympia Press and publisher of such other controversial books as Nabokov's Lolita and Samuel Beckett's Watt (de Grazia, 385). First published in Paris, Burroughs' work was summarily banned in the United States and Britain, enduring a censorship trial in the States and becoming "one of the most clothed books in history" through various expurgated editions that followed (Miles, 108). First issue, with "Francs1,500. Not to be sold in the U.S.A. or U.K." on back cover and rear flap of dust jacket. Maynard & Miles A2.
Only most minor toning to dust jacket spine. A fine copy, quite rare in such beautiful condition.