The American Express. Gregory CORSO.
The American Express.
The American Express.
The American Express.
The American Express.
The American Express.
The American Express.
The American Express.

39.

The American Express.

Paris: The Olympia Press, 1961. First edition, first state (price not overprinted on lower wrapper), and with white photographic dustwrapper printed in black and red. Wrps., 242pp. No. 85 in the Traveller's Companion Series. Illustrated with drawings by the author.


SIGNED and briefy inscribed by Corso on the front free endpaper: "hello, Gregory Corso April 28 1961". Corso's first and only novel was published only four days earlier, on April 24th, by Maurice Girodias, who had been introduced to Corso by William Burroughs. Girodias held a big party to launch the book at his nightclub, La Grande Séverine, and invited executives from the American Express office, whose lawyer had suggested that the book should be withdrawn. They were frightened away and no charges were pressed, presumably after Allen Ginsberg began stripping off in his customary fashion and a hallucinogen was added to the drinks (possibly by Peter Orlovsky, according to Gaït Frogé), causing the party to descend into chaos. In fact, although commissioned by Girodias, well known for his DBs ('dirty books'), the book isn't at all erotic. In it, Corso appears as an unnamed character, born in the basement of the American Express office in Paris, who wanders the world, penniless, and incorporates Burroughs as 'Mr. D', and an old girlfriend, 'Shiva', as the female protagonist. Written in only a month, Corso always regretted the book's rushed syntax and awkward grammar, and wanted to revise it for a proposed Doubleday Anchor edition which never transpired.


Small bump to lower corner near spine, o/w Near Fine in dw. The best copy this cataloguer has seen, including the rare dustwrapper, with Corso's contemporary signature nicely placing it close to its origin.

Price: £600.00   Convert Currency

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