Burroughs, William S.QueerHardcover. New York: The Viking Press, 1985. 1st Edition. Fine / Dust Jacket Included.First edition, first printing. Presentation copy, inscribed by Burroughs to Steven Lowe on the title page in the year of publication: "for Steve Lowe / with memories of / many years of / friendship / William S. Burroughs / November 6, 1985". Publisher's light blue cloth, lettered in silver; in the original white pictorial dust jacket designed by Neil Stuart, illustrated with George Baselitz's Orangenesser X to the front panel, lettered in black. Near fine, with a hint of toning to the extremities, else fine; unclipped dust jacket, with a 1" closed tear to the bottom edge of the rear panel, light soiling to flap folds, else bright and fresh. Overall, a very clean and beautiful copy. Burroughs inscribed this copy of Queer to his close friend, assistant, and collaborator Steve Lowe. As Mark Van de Walle comments in a 2011 article about Lowe and his Beat Hotel for The Paris Review, "Steve and William were close and more than close" They were friends, although that word seems pallid to describe their relationship, more intimate than most marriages." Similarly, Lowe and Burroughs' professional relationship extended beyond the usual boundaries. As Van de Walle explains, Lowe was "William Burroughs's amanuensis, a position that combined the duties of researcher, artist's assistant, gallerist, and Official Writer's-Block Breaker." Over the course of their friendship, which spanned well over a quarter century, Lowe amassed a sizeable collection of Burroughs ephemera and signed materials, including this copy of Queer. Burroughs first began writing Queer, a companion piece to Junkie (1953), in 1951 shortly after the death of his wife Joan and while he was awaiting trial for her accidental homicide. Like Junkie, this semiautobiographical text features heroin addict William Lee as the protagonist. Set in Mexico City, Queer follows Lee as he suffers from "acute heroin withdrawal" and has a romantic interest in a fellow addict. Although he disliked Queer for its painful reminders of the past, Burroughs notes in the introduction that he would "never have become a writer but for Joan's death."
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