JUNKIE, WILLIAM BURROUGHS' FIRST BOOK, SIGNED BY HIM
(BURROUGHS, William) LEE, William. Junkie. New York: Ace, (1953). Small octavo, original paper wrappers. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $2800.
First edition of Burroughs' first book, published under the pseudonym William Lee, signed by the author on the title page.
Reprinted later with the title Junky—Burroughs' preferred spelling, overruled by the original publisher—Junkie was Burroughs' first book, published under a pseudonym due to the controversial nature of the subject. "Though Junkie is a straight narrative, being autobiographical it lacks the kind of plot that readers might expect. Though billed as 'the confessions of an unredeemed drug addict,' few people could have guessed that it actually was what it claimed to be… It is an adventure story—Lee versus the law—episodic like the cliff-hangers at the Saturday morning children's movie matinees… For the most part the book sticks accurately to the real chronology and events of Burroughs's life. There are periodic expository passages in which Bill gives the reader factual information about drugs, federal and state laws… The book works as a how-to-do-it manual, an encyclopedic introduction to the junkie world for the uninitiated reader, including facts such as how to cure pot and prepare paregoric… even what to do should you find yourself on an airplane without a hypodermic syringe" (Miles, 60-61). Published in the same volume with Maurice Helbrant's Narcotic Agent, printed upside-down and to the rear of Junkie, with the back cover serving as the front cover for Helbrant's work. Maynard & Miles A1.a.
Minor marginal paper repair to first leaf, wrappers bright and beautiful. An exceptionally fresh and clean copy of a fragile book.