£10.39
  • RRP: £12.99
  • You Save: £2.60 (20%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Rub Out the Words: Letter... has been added to your Basket
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Rub Out the Words: Letters 1959-1974 (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 7 Mar 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£10.39
£5.32 £10.05
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£10.39 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • Rub Out the Words: Letters 1959-1974 (Penguin Modern Classics)
  • +
  • William S. Burroughs: A Life
Total price: £25.27
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141189800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189802
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The most important writer in the English language since the Second World War (J. G. Ballard )

Burroughs is the greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift (Jack Kerouac ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. To escape those conditions, and in particular his treatment as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1950, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognised as one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died in 1997.


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed the first volume of Burroughs' letters which spanned the beat days of 1944-1959 with the publishing of Naked Lunch.With this new volume we pick up his life post Naked Lunch and pre going back to new york and becoming the king of the punks.Its an odd time for Burroughs and makes oddly muted reading.Gone is the love sick terrified man of the early days,affection and companionship has replaced the sick love he felt for Ginsberg .Here we have a far more unapproachable Burroughs battling against Ron Hubbard and his publishers.In this period the cut ups were the most important factor in his work and its something I've never been able to enjoy very much (I think he should have stopped after the soft machine) and I find that Burroughs as a man is simply boring during this period too.I found myself skipping past great swathes of this book in frustration as he muses on the benefits of Scientology and his discussion of the cut ups which I also found extremely repetitive.Gone is the angry and frustrated nomad wondering the globe and instead we have a sedate man about town in quiet (relatively speaking) SW1.Whereas the first volume of letters were essential to our knowledge of Burroughs as a person I feel this volume as a mere afterthought.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The world of Burroughs is a dark, brooding place full of insanity, violent (homo)sexuality and blood. In his many letters you get the essence of the myopic innovator as he bums his way around Europe and North Africa in search of money, inspiration, rent boys and an elusive language of the future mutating before his very eyes. Much of it is mundane: complaints about people and places, disputes over money, teacherly advice to younger savants about his techniques and experiments, savage bitching about his publisher, snipes and gripes chalked up. Amongst the clutter of his letters is the man in quest of a new language made up of the fragments and dreams and overheard snippets of sentences, the shady world of narcotics addiction, low life associates and encounters. Life seen through the eye of the hypodermic needle. The concertina of Burrough's daily life was played out on a wheezing, rasping instrument (his own body) of his own fabrication and modulation. He is hungry for psychic relevance and signifcance in numbers, the alchemy of strange places and people's metamorphic expressions are pertinent and provocative. Reading his extraordinary novels is totally unlike reading his letters which are more humdrum, focused on the exasperating details of the day to day existence of the self imposed exile as anti-intellectual guru.This book offers curious glimpses into his wanderlust and is a useful compendium to anyone reading his other books.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I give this collection five stars because I think it truly a privilege to be able to read the letters of this unusual man. At the same time I have to admit that some of the content is over my head. However, there is also much that I found interesting. Many of the letters are to his old friend and collaborator Brion Gysin, and there are also letters to Ian Sommerville, son Billy (William Burroughs Jr), Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, mother Laura, Paul Bowles, assorted publishers and many others. Pleasant surprises for me include:
Two letters in response to a proposal of marriage from someone he has never met who is threatening suicide: "I am saying no to your proposal of marriage as I would say no to any proposal of marriage. This is not a rejection of you. Our illusion systems simply do not coincide."
Two letters to hustler/boyfriend John Brady : "And how many times have I told you that when you are in difficulties the `logical' thing to do is always wrong since it is just this `logic' that has put you in the present difficulties."
A letter to Truman Capote: "As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit."

I had really enjoyed the previous volume of letters (1949 - 1959). I found them very readable, funny, informative and they showed me a human side of Burroughs that I simply had not appreciated before. In contrast, I found this selection disappointing, and after an initial look gave up on them until my interest was rekindled recently by Barry Miles' excellent biography. I experience these letters as more detached, more unemotional, more intellectual and I am left feeling somewhat excluded from the inner Burroughs.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Letters are a dying form of communication. Where will we be in 50 years form now? Will anyone publish a book of email, tweets and Facebook postings? Maybe they will. If you want to read how relationships evolved and ideas developed before the Internet, and how events contribute to these changes, Burroughs letters are an excellent example of this. Read with the earlier Letters 1945-59 (Penguin Modern Classics) and you get know the real person a little more.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9623899c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x961ce5e8) out of 5 stars Great book for serious followers 23 April 2013
By Robert Greenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is definitely lighter material than most of his novels, but if you have not embedded yourself in the Burroughsian universe, this book is not for you! Having said that, I love this book because of its simultaneous differences and similarities to Burroughs' formal literature.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x961ce8c4) out of 5 stars Inside the Beatnik mind 3 Mar. 2012
By Wabbit98 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Beatnik generation. It produced some of the most well know authors and artists, it was also a time for sex and drugs. A chance to experiment with alternative lifestyles. One of the giants of the beatniks was William S. Burroughs, most famous for his book //Naked Lunch// and other works which repeatedly got banned in the United Kingdom and the United States. Now we get to go inside the mind of this famous author. For the first time his letters are being published, a volume covering his early years was published many years ago and this volume covers 1959-1974. Mr. Burroughs was a conflicted man, who constantly had troubles with publishers, friends and family. He was constantly broke and always searching for a way to make some money, so he could continue as a full time writer. Towards the end he felt it was all but impossible for a full time writer unless they had another job. His letters are interesting to read, inside his thinking process. His argument with publishers over money and more. He lived a different lifestyle and was often a target because of it, Mr. Burroughs might be remembered for his odd books. But he knew the craft.
HASH(0x96340ac8) out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 April 2015
By Judy Neal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great seller item came as described I have only skimmed through the book currently appears to be interesting
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x966b92a0) out of 5 stars For the Dedicated only 25 May 2014
By Peter King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I give this collection five stars because I think it truly a privilege to be able to read the letters of this unusual man. At the same time I have to admit that some of the content is over my head. However, there is also much that I found interesting. Many of the letters are to his old friend and collaborator Brion Gysin, and there are also letters to Ian Sommerville, son Billy (William Burroughs Jr), Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, mother Laura, Paul Bowles, assorted publishers and many others. Pleasant surprises for me include:
Two letters in response to a proposal of marriage from someone he has never met who is threatening suicide: "I am saying no to your proposal of marriage as I would say no to any proposal of marriage. This is not a rejection of you. Our illusion systems simply do not coincide."
Two letters to hustler/boyfriend John Brady : "And how many times have I told you that when you are in difficulties the `logical' thing to do is always wrong since it is just this `logic' that has put you in the present difficulties."
A letter to Truman Capote: "As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit."

I had really enjoyed the previous volume of letters (1949 - 1959). I found them very readable, funny, informative and they showed me a human side of Burroughs that I simply had not appreciated before. In contrast, I found this collection disappointing, and after an initial look gave up on them until my interest was rekindled recently by Barry Miles' excellent biography. I experience these letters as more detached, more unemotional, more intellectual and I am left feeling somewhat excluded from the inner Burroughs. This is particularly the case in his letters to Brion where I feel that I am missing something important that I don't understand. In this context I admit that I have never got into his writing from Naked Lunch on, I have never really understood his obsessive interest in cut-up methodology, and I am not a scientology initiate. At the same time I am very interested in Burroughs as an individual. I do appreciate that his interests in cut-ups and in scientology were very significant for him in his search for inner and outer freedom from his own conditioning/distress and that of those around him. I also appreciate that my experience of this collection of letters as disappointing may simply reflect Burroughs himself feeling more in control of his life and more at ease in himself.

One continued thread throughout these letters is the continued hope of selling his writings, of making money, and always being disappointed in this. I am impressed by how seriously he took his work and how hard he worked at his writing. I find his work rate the more impressive (assuming it is true) given that he was continually using drugs of one kind or another throughout this time.

I think this collection is a must for the serious dedicated Burroughs follower and there is much of interest. However I do think that the reader should be prepared for disappointment if he or she is hoping for significant revelation.
1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Rose H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hated the book wish I could sell it..says he such a good writer but it must have been in days gone by because I hated it and it was a waist of time and energy making it..
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback