DOCTOR BENWAY.
DOCTOR BENWAY.
DOCTOR BENWAY.

107.

DOCTOR BENWAY.

Santa Barbara, CA: Bradford Morrow, 1979. First edition. Cloth-backed boards. Printed letterpress by Patrick Reagh. New introduction by the author. Frontispiece drawing by K. Anders.

One of 150 numbered copies SIGNED by the author, this copy inscribed on the colophon to the publisher of the Olympia Press: "For Maurice Girodias / William S. Burroughs / 22". A typically minimalist inscription from Burroughs, though the stark simplicity of it perhaps reflects their sometimes strained business dealings twenty years earlier, although, as John de St. Jorre has noted, "Girodias and Burroughs got on well and remained on reasonably good terms for the rest of Girodias's life" [The Good Ship Venus, p.246]. It's reasonable to assume that the brevity of the inscription owed more to Burroughs having to sign presentation copies to a select group of others at the time of publication, among them Brion Gysin, Carl Weissner, Claude Givaudan, Richard Seaver, and Claude Pélieu and Mary Beach.

The book prints a variant passage from "The Naked Lunch", taken from the original manuscript which had been left in the possession of Alan Ansen in Venice in the late 1950s and rediscovered by him in 1973. It contains some major and numerous minor textual variations from all previously published versions of "The Naked Lunch", with one of the more noticeable differences being a description of "American queens" in a nausea contest. The character of Doctor Benway can be traced back as far as 1938, when Burroughs and Kell Elvins invented him for their "Twilight's Last Gleamings" routine.

The first signed, limited publication of any part of Burroughs' landmark novel, with this association copy being especially desirable as no record of any other book inscribed by Burroughs to Girodias can be found. A Fine copy in a Fine jacket, with the original prospectus for the book laid in.

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