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Last Words: The Final Journals of William Burroughs (1960s A) by William S. Burroughs,James Grauerholz
ISBN: 0006552188
ISBN13: 978-0006552185
Author: William S. Burroughs,James Grauerholz
Book title: Last Words: The Final Journals of William Burroughs (1960s A)
Other Formats: doc mbr lrf rtf
Pages: 304 pages
Publisher: Flamingo (April 17, 2001)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1262 kb
Size ePub version: 1547 kb
Size fb2 version: 1619 kb
Category: History & Criticism

The journal of the last months of William Burroughs' life. 20 November 1996: 'Well, it's time for my Ovaltine and a long good night.' Burroughs died in 1997, after a lifetime of notoriety. The granddaddy of the Beats, druggy, dangerous and bleak, author of thirteen controversial, shocking novels. In his final years, he was writing only in his journals. The last nine months of his diaries are here in 'Last Words', and they form a complex, rarely seen, personal portrait of Burroughs at the end of his life, coming to terms with ageing and death. Although well into his eighties, the man we see is nevertheless the same old Burroughs, still riling against the Establishment, still contemptuous of the state of the human race, still shocking, bleak and very funny. The diaries are full of anecdotes and memories, entries on the joys of housekeeping, dealing with doctors, shooting a video with U2, musings on his beloved cats, drug-taking and government cover-ups. These journals contain some of the most brutally personal prose Burroughs has ever written. The deaths of his friends, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, provide a window onto the preparations he was making for his own death -- a quest for absolution marked by a profound sense of guilt and loss.

Books reviews
Maucage
A great look inside the mind of one of experimental literatures great masters,in is final months. I will add if you are not a fan of Burroughs, or have read anything of his prior works,this diary is not for you...yet.
But this is a look through an unwashed window, into the mind of one complicated misunderstood beat genius.
Rindyt
For the hardcore William S. fan. Very slim.
BlackHaze
These last words of Burroughs will have great poignancy for his fans, but might not be all that meaningful to the casual reader. He writes about mundane everyday occurrences, memories of his eventful life, makes extensive literary references and provides loving descriptions of his cats. For me, the Burroughs magic is here in abundance and this book helps to complete the big picture of his life and work. It's not all smooth sailing, though, as his repetitive railings against the "war on drugs" can become a bit tedious. Obscure references are explained in the explanatory notes: I was interested to see he was a member of IOT (International Order of Thanateros - see the books Liber Kaos and Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic) and friends with V. Vale (See Re/Search Publications like Industrial Culture Handbook: Re # 6/7 and Re/Search #14: Incredibly Strange Music, Volume I (Re/Search ; 14)).

Some sections are funny, some are sad (especially where he writes about Joan Vollmer and his family) and some very interesting from a literary perspective. There are powerful passages of great beauty that stick in the mind. His love for his cats and for other animals like lemurs is very moving and shows that he may have been larger than life, but in the end he was very human. So, to wrap it up: Last Words is essential reading for the Burroughs enthusiast and the Burroughs scholar, to finally understand the man and his writing. Phew ... I am relieved, to know how much he loved some people and his pets, in the end.

Queer

Junky
post_name
Thanks to James Grauerholz for this final goodbye from one of the 20th centuries most influential authors, (even if polite society won't admit it). FINAL WORDS will appeal to the Burroughs collector/afficianado as you will see the Grand Old Man return again and again in his final writings to themes that appear in his other works. Also, his commentary on current events and personalities, (Clinton, Timothy McVeigh, his fears of a growing world police state), make this book a must for the Burroughs fan. Particularly touching is how jarred Burroughs was by Allen Ginsberg's death. Burrough's remained true to his ideas/ideals to the very end, even if only at the end realizing the importance of love. From the entry for January 17, 1997: "What then is the meaning of respect? When all lies, deceit, pretense is stripped away, what remains? The truth of a painting, or a book or a man. No one is perfect. No, but by the flaws in the picture the truth will emerge."
Whatever
These last words of Burroughs will have great poignancy for his fans, but might not be all that meaningful to the casual reader. He writes about mundane everyday occurrences, memories of his eventful life, makes extensive literary references and provides loving descriptions of his cats. For me, the Burroughs magic is here in abundance and this book helps to complete the big picture of his life and work. It's not all smooth sailing, though, as his repetitive railings against the "war on drugs" can become a bit tedious. Obscure references are explained in the explanatory Notes: I was interested to see he was a member of IOT (International Order of Thanateros - see the books Liber Kaos and Liber Null & Psychonaut by Peter Carroll) and friends with V. Vale (See Re/Search Publications like Industrial Culture Handbook and Incredibly Strange Music). Some sections are funny, some are sad (especially where he writes about Joan Vollmer and his family) and some very interesting from a literary perspective. There are powerful passages of great beauty that stick in the mind. His love for his cats and for other animals like lemurs is very moving and shows that he may have been larger than life, but in the end he was very human. So, to wrap it up: Last Words is essential reading for the Burroughs enthusiast and the Burroughs scholar, to finally understand the man and his writing. Phew ... I am relieved, to know how much he loved some people and his pets, in the end.
komandante
This book offers a nice tribute to William S. Burroughs, who was one of the most important figures of twentieth century literature. His most famous book is probably Naked Lunch which is a satire written in a series of routines. But whether you begin with Junkie, Naked Lunch or any of the others he was a man who spoke the TRUTH with a compassion and insight achieved by few others as to the state of the modern age. His words are designed to infiltrate the mind, fight the virus with itself, searching out and consuming attitudes of control impregnated by the biologic and social programming of our lives.
fightnight
This was a very welcome addition to my library. I wouldn't say that it provides a capstone to his works, it's not that kind of greatness, but it did leave me feeling closer to the man...and that's really what I was seeking. Seeing inside the process, as well as getting a feel for the pulse of his last days were both accomplished very well by the book. I'll read it again, and again, whenever one of his novels awes me and I need to revisit the human who created such superhuman texts.
Touching, amusing entries in the life of an intellectual pioneer.
Burroughs revealed so much in his fiction but the journals are a more probing way we can peer into his mind and see what he was thinking in the last days.
One often wonders where good psychedelicists are headed in their final corporeal days, so works like this provide a certain insight not gleaned from their main body of work.
Burroughs was quite a character.
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