01 March 2007

The Naked Lunch. William S. Burroughs. 1959

William S. Burroughs. THE NAKED LUNCH. Olympia Press, Paris, 1959.

Current Selling Prices
$2000+ /£1200 Want level 25-50 Highish

Key work of beat and drug literature. Burroughs drug of choice was heroin. Smack and sodomy. He was outspokenly gay, something uncommon in the fifties. His frankness in dealing with these issues and the sureness of his prose style won him great respect among fellow beats. The book is a green paperback like most Olympia Press books. It can come in a mauve and white stiffish jacket. The first issue of the book should have the 'old franc' price on the rear cover i.e. 1500 Francs and a green border around the title page.

VALUE? 5000 copies were printed so it isn't scarce but bright fresh first state copies in jacket can get catalogued at up to 5 even 6000 dollars. Whether this is achieved is difficult to say. Used and well read copies can make a $100 and over, we sold a loathsome copy on ebay for $200 ( the guy never paid but that's another story.) The US Grove Press that some optimists want over a $1000 for is, in fact , a bit of dog and decent copies can be had in the low hundreds. 3500 were printed ('a tiny printing' proclaims one online duffer.) With Burroughs nothing is predictable - a copy of a Grove first inscribed to Paul Bowles was said to have changed hands in 2005 for the price of a very high end Mercedes, kind of a freak not to say bananas price and likely never to be repeated until the year 2525. Apart from a taste for bangh and boys there is little to connect the two cats. Meanwhile slightly duff copies of the Olympia edition are traded daily on ebay at modest prices. There are 6 of the Olympia and 5 of the Grove up there this very day.
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