mardi 11 mai 2010

Paul Hawkins: The Road to Interzone: Reading William S. Burroughs Reading

The Road to Interzone: Reading William S. Burroughs Reading
Second (Revised and Expanded) Edition by Michael Stevens available now direct from the publisher:
Suicide Press
P. O. Box 663
Archer City, Texas

The Road to Interzone is the result of a fascination with the works of William S. Burroughs and the literary influence that made his legendary canon of work possible. Here, the raw material of the shaping spirit of the imagination, is analyzed by presenting quotes and selections from Burroughs works (novels, interviews, criticism, etc.) alongside the primary literary sources that influenced him. Also contained herein are listings from the recorded archives of the books Burroughs read through most of his lifetime. Redacted from university archives and WSB s personal libraries, these listings attempt to catalog the source materials of what was to become Burroughs literary legacy. The Road to Interzone provides the skeleton for an interpretation of the operational processes of influence and the function of artistic inspiration.

Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Suicide Press; Second edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615302653
ISBN-13: 978-0615302652
Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 1.3 inches

"Michael Stevens has found the right vein, circulating raw material of the mind of visionary genius in post modern literature and art. His exhaustive compendia and matrix is like the fractal's pattern bringing similarities that could reveal whole equation. He has provided the reader with the sources of allusion, influences, critiques, and the spirit of scatological obsessions of the late William S. Burroughs, the well-read innovator, inventor, and investigator in literature, art, culture and cosmology. Ezra Pound once advised readers who thought the Cantos too obscure, to just think of them as people throughout history sitting around talking. This book allows me the conversations with Uncle Bill that I unfortunately neglected in his presence." --Charles Plymell

"A fascinating and richly helpful piece of literary archeology, tracing as broadly as possible the sources William Burroughs had available to him as he wrote. Both the title and the method echo the classic Road to Xanadu, John Livingston Lowes excavation of Coleridge s reading: Coleridge, like Burroughs, being more than a little interested in drugs. It is a work for which all Burroughs students should be grateful." --Larry McMurtry

“The scholarship surrounding the life and work of William Burroughs is in the midst of a renaissance. Students of Burroughs are turning away from myths, legends, and sensationalistic biographical detail in order to delve deeply into textual analysis, archival research, and explorations of literary and artistic history. Michael Stevens’ The Road to Interzone is an important part of this changing landscape. In a manner similar to Ralph Maud’s Charles Olson’s Reading, The Road to Interzone places the life and literature of “el Hombre Invisible” into sharper focus by listing and commenting on, in obsessive detail, the breadth of literary material Burroughs read, referred to, researched, and reviewed. Stevens reveals Burroughs to be a man of letters and of great learning, while simultaneously shedding light on the personal obsessions, pet theories, childhood favorites, and guilty pleasures, which make Burroughs such a unique and fascinating figure. Stevens’ book provides a wealth of new and important information for those deeply interested in Burroughs and will no doubt prove essential to future scholarship. Like Oliver Harris’ The Secret of Fascination and Robert Sobieszek’s Ports of Entry before it, The Road to Interzone is an indispensable addition to the canon of Burroughs Studies.”
-Jed Birmingham

“Michael Stevens has created a new kind of biography out of love for William S. Burroughs and love of books. Author worship and bibliophilia become one at the point of obsession, which of course is the point where they become interesting. Burroughs’ reading was intense and far flung, and Stevens has sleuthed out a portrait of that reading--the books Burroughs lent his name to in the form of introductions and blurbs, the books in his various libraries, the books he refers to, the books that found their way into his writing, and much more! Along with lively notes from Stevens, we have Burroughs throughout--his opinions, perceptions, the ‘grain of his voice.’ That in itself makes Stevens’ book a notable achievement. The Road to Interzone is a useful scholarly tool and a fascinating journey for anyone who loves contemporary literature.”
-Robert Gluck

“The Road To Interzone is a valuable piece of scholarly work which would prove of invaluable assistance to anyone interested in the work of William Seward Burroughs. Books maketh the man (and woman) said somebody and they obviously had a massive impact on the imagination of Burroughs, shaping the direction his writing life took. An examination of his library and reading habits is sure to give any student of the man vital clues as to his inspirations and launching off points.”
-Kevin Ring, Beat Scene

"Burroughs criticism in the 21st century is in the process of being shaped by material concerns. No longer are Burroughs' readers focused primarily on the legend of the "master" as wife-killing junkie expatriate-finally, the way that Burroughs went about producing his work has become as important as his mythos, and essentially to understanding it. In this crucial sense, Michael Stevens's The Road to Interzone offers an outstanding contribution to the newest work on Burroughs. His meticulously researched text stands as an absolutely invaluable accessory to a rich theoretical revival inaugurated by major critics in the field such as Timothy S. Murphy, Oliver Harris, and Jamie Russell."
-Davis Schneiderman

"Michael Stevens' work is as close to pure research as can be obtained. He provides a unique view of a unique writer through the lens of words in other writers' books. All authors read, and their reading habits inform their own writing. With the work of Michael Stevens, we now have a much better idea of the topics Burroughs was interested in, the subjects that intrigued him, and the minutiae of his personal library. It is a piece of scholarship that will enrich the study of Burroughs' life and work."
-Eric Shoaf

“To scan Michael Stevens' bibliography is to dream of entering into William Burroughs' head from a new angle -- not from his writings but from his readings. You can't live Burroughs' life but you can read the books he read. You can infect yourself with the same word virus he picked up in writers ranging from Abrahamson (Crime and the Human Mind) to Yeats (‘cast a cold eye on life, a cold eye on death…’) Will these get you any closer to the mutations Burroughs performed on the word virus? Doubtless you'll understand the man and his work better. And perhaps, with the help of the ‘creative reading’ Burroughs espoused, Road to Interzone will even put you in position to subject the same viral sources to a few new mutations of your own.”

“Michael Stevens’ The Road To Interzone is not only the most comprehensive Burroughs bibliography ever attempted, it is written and compiled with precisely the self-deprecating humor and unremitting attention to detail demanded by the occasion. This highly entertaining, intelligently organized and vastly informative tome is pre-ordained by the religious fascination William S. Burroughs masterfully instilled in his readers. An absolutely necessary reference work for the world of letters, The Road To Interzone offers the added advantage of belletristic assassins expertly perched at each bend, sewage drain and rooftop- the perfect snippet of literary criticism here, the single-sentence aphorism that annihilates doubt there. Stevens’ magnificent work is certain to prove useful to scholars and lay readers for many generations to come. It possesses all earmarks of an obsessive perfectionist’s life work. Utterly indispensable.”
-David Woodard

“Often, scholars base their argument or lineage of ideas on very thin evidence, such as one mention of so-and-so book in one of the works. This sort of comprehensive survey gives much more overall view on the whole cultural environment that the author worked in. I don't know if this sort of effort has been made for other authors, but if it has, then it's about time it was done for WSB. And if it hasn't, then this sort of thing has the potential to open up a whole new world of research material. I think it's simply great.”
-Hiroo Yamagata

Paul Hawkins

writer & culture vulture

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