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The Herbert Huncke Reader

by Herbert Huncke, Benjamin G. Schafer (Editor)

Other authors: Raymond Foye (Introduction), Jerome Poynon (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1042234,442 (3.79)5
This reader contains the full texts of Herbert Huncke's out-of-print works, Huncke's Journal and The Evening Sun Turned Crimson, and a wide selection from his other published and unpublished poems, stories, memoirs, letters and diaries.

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
I tried to read this book I got it from the library as it's fairly expensive. But I had a hard time following yet I think because perhaps the author was on drugs and what he saying is really disjointed. I have a hard time following it if this book was available on Kindle and I think it is it might be something that I would turn to again, since I had to return the original copy to the library. I might look at this book again if it were more readily available. ( )
  laurelzito | Oct 24, 2019 |
In searching through the writings of the Beat Generation, one generally feels as if they've stumbled onto the obscure when they've found Neal Cassady - and why not? It's fifty years past their heydey and scratching the surface of Keroac, Ginsberg or Burroughs is an accomplishment for anyone.

Huncke was a good friend to Ginsberg and if you read through his writings, you'll find that he was not only a friend to Burroughs, but the likely Tom Doniphon of Junky if we were putting it in terms of Liberty Valance and assuming that Burroughs were Ransom Stoddard. (Go ahead, look it up on Wikipedia if you must, but when the legend becomes fact, let's just say even the 50th Anniversary Edition likes to say that certain things are autobiographical when perhaps they landed in the hands of a far more apt storyteller.) That Junky was written after Huncke had lived with him in Texas and while Huncke was incarcerated for a particularly long stint may just well be coincidence.

There's no doubt that Huncke was an interesting character fortunate to run in circles that would be filled with people destined to take advantage of a changing culture. Not all of his writing was as interesting, but portions of it have occasional sparks of something special. It's perhaps most unfortunate that the most sincere writing concerns Joan Burroughs. It is clear that he cared for her and was concerned that Bill's feelings for her were not wholly sincere...but the writings fall off as one must do when it's clear that there's only so much one can write about the relationship of friends. Huncke also writes amazingly raw passages about the power of his budding sexuality as a runaway. Huncke was no tourist or for pay hustler; Huncke embraced the power of his sexuality and later participated in Kinsey's pioneering studies - something else in the book.

Unfortunately, much of the reader is rather self-indulgent and feels like the writings of someone who clearly was passing time with pen and paper. While I don't doubt that passing time with Herbert telling stories was indeed interesting, reading ramblings led to much skimming.

I do suggest this volume if you've been on a Beat Bender of sorts - you'll recognize a number of the characters before they knew they were really going to be anyone of note. ( )
  stephmo | Nov 30, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huncke, HerbertAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schafer, Benjamin G.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Foye, RaymondIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poynon, JeromeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burroughs, William S.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There remains an indelible image of Herbert Huncke the writer, forever frozen in time: homeless and alone, crouched in a Times Square pay toilet with a notebook on his knees, furtively composing his latest tale from the underground. (Introduction)
Herbert Edwin Huncke was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1915. (Biographical Sketch)
The first collection of Herbert Huncke's writing was published in 1965 by the poet Diane di Prima. (Editor's Note)
Herbert E. Huncke
My name; although I'm known generally as Huncke and by a few as Herbert and in the past as Herbie.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This reader contains the full texts of Herbert Huncke's out-of-print works, Huncke's Journal and The Evening Sun Turned Crimson, and a wide selection from his other published and unpublished poems, stories, memoirs, letters and diaries.

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