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Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th…
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Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th Anniversary Edition) (edition 2003)

by William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg (Foreword), Oliver Harris (Contributor)

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3,323291,636 (3.74)1 / 82
Member:ltezemer
Title:Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th Anniversary Edition)
Authors:William S. Burroughs
Other authors:Allen Ginsberg (Foreword), Oliver Harris (Contributor)
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2003), Edition: 50 Anv, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
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Junky by William S. Burroughs

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English (26)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A short, well written book, that honestly lays out the mental and physical strife junkies must deal with. Whether 50 years ago, today, or 50 years from now, this book carries a relevance that many will not, or cannot understand. Very worth an afternoon of your attention. ( )
  Pharis | Mar 30, 2014 |
This was one of the hardest books I have ever tried to read. It must have taken me three or four times to get through the book. In the end though, I can say I liked it. I am still unsure WHAT exactly I liked about it since it is so hard to read and understand.

It is a book about drugs that makes you feel like you've taken drugs--and then tried to read the book. ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Jan 3, 2014 |
I expected to not like this book by William S Burrough's but I liked it. It was an easy to read book and I was impressed that this author who openly writes about his addiction and his homosexuality was intelligent. He writes this book without defensiveness or anger. He writes with matter-of-fact style. This was his debut novel. He wrote the original in 1953 and was published by Ace. I read the Penguin addition. This book is gives the reader a trained anthropologist observations as he portrays the life of an addict in New York, New Orleans and Mexico City. For those readers who have read The Road by Jack Kerouac, this would be a great companion read. They were acquaintances and even had thought of writing a novel together. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
This is a re-read for me. I wanted to check out the new edition. The novel was always fantastic, but the new editions that restores text is genius. I won't repeat all the things people normally say about how you should read this first, etc. etc. All I will say is that the honesty of the prose, the zero degree of fabulation, is the genius of the book. Almost no one else on the planet could pull of this much with this little. READ THIS NOVEL. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
To many contemporary readers narcotics and drug addicts are shrouded by an atmosphere of crime, danger and dirt, which will lead most people to shun heroin addicts, or "junkies" as they have become known. With Junky, also spelled Junkie, William S. Burroughs tries to clear that image, and would almost succeed.

Junky was published as an autobiographical novel telling an almost clinically cool history of how Burroughs became addicted, which is told in a very straightforward narrative, and seemingly based on a very innocent transaction, of a pal asking him to sell some morphine and Burroughs ending up trying some himself. Assuming that Burroughs' assertion that many facts, descriptions of feelings, etc are factual and truthful, Junky would be an excellent guide to better understand the world of "junk" and "junk users", as Burroughs calls it.

The Penguin Modern Classics edition of Junky. The definitive text of 'Junk' is published with a long introduction by Oliver Harris and includes various parts and appendixes which were cut from the original manuscript. According to the original introduction Burroughs had written Junky with the intention to enlighten readers about the true life of "junk user" and separating "junk" from the mystery surrounding it.

However, in the Prologue Burroughs gives an all but sketchy impression of his life leading up to his life as a "junk". Comparing these notes with the biographical information we now have, not just of Burroughs but also of the other writers of the Beat Generation, it is clear that the biographical sketch in the Prologue is incomplete and probably deliberately vague. To present Junky as a lifestyle choice it probably did not fit the bill to explain that despite his good education and relative carefree life, receiving a monthly allowance from a trust fund, Burroughs was attracted to criminal behaviour, and the Beat Generation started with a murder in which Kerouac was charged as an accessory and Burroughs as a material witness, in 1944. It was later that same year Burroughs developed his addiction.

Burroughs and Kerouac collaborated writing a novel together ("And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks"), and Burroughs completed the manuscript of another novel, but Junky. The definitive text of 'Junk' was Burroughs' official debut in 1953. The introduction by Oliver Harris provides many interesting details about the publication history of Junky including the various suggested titles and publishers' deliberations rejecting Burroughs' original title. The Penguin edition also includes an appreciation of Junky written by Alan Ginsberg, besides a glossary, letters and excerpts which were cut from the original manuscript, such as a long passage about Wilhelm Reich's theory of "orgones", etc in six appendices.

Unlike Burroughs' later work, Junky is written in a straightforward prose style, and linear plot development. It provides a fascinating account of the life of a junky, from the point of view of a junky, explaining how heroin changes their life. ( )
2 vote edwinbcn | Aug 19, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burroughs, William S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen GinsbergIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsberg, AllenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lendínez, MartínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roca, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuart, NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yli-Juonikas, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My first experience with junk was during the War, about 1944 or 1945.
I was born in 1914 in a solid, three-story, brick house in a large Midwest city. (Prologue)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Originally published as Junkie under the name William Lee.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142003166, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:18 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Before his 1959 breakthrough, Naked Lunch, an unknown William S. Burroughs wrote Junk, his first novel. It is a candid eye-witness account of times and places that are now long gone, an unvarnished field report from the American post-war underground." "Unafraid to portray himself in 1953 as a confirmed member of two socially-despised under classes (a narcotics addict and a homosexual), Burroughs was writing as a trained anthropologist when he unapologetically described a way of life - in New York, New Orleans, and Mexico City - that by the 1940's was already demonized by the artificial anti-drug hysteria of an opportunistic bureaucracy and a cynical, prostrate media." "For this fiftieth-anniversary edition, eminent Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has painstakingly recreated the author's original text, word by word, from archival typescripts and places the book's contents against a lively historical background in a comprehensive introduction. Here as well, for the first time, are Burroughs' own unpublished introduction and an entire omitted chapter, along with many "lost" passages, as well as auxiliary texts by Allen Ginsberg and others."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141189827, 014104540X, 0241956781

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