Sunday, 19 April 2015

Burroughs books

Looking thru a fantastic archive of William Burroughs book covers… Fascinating to see how a tricky customer like Burroughs was packaged and sold over the years. Naked Lunch and Soft Machine borrowed Dali paintings for their US Ballantine editions, the first US edition of Cities of the Red Night used Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s apocalyptic painting The Triumph of Death, while a Dutch edition of Naked Lunch, featured Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Son. Occasionally publishers would reflect the decadence of Burroughs’ novels – UK paperbacks of Junkie and Dead Fingers Talk featured explicit syringe play, a German edition of Naked Lunch from 1982 came with a fairly explicit still from what looks like a porno, while various naked male torsos were commonly seen on copies of Queer. Burroughs himself was the cover star for many of his books over the years – I particularly like the Chinese film-tie-in edition of Naked Lunch which features Burroughs sitting in the black meat factory set of Cronenberg’s film. All designs mentioned above can be found here

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