Dead Fingers Do Tell Tales

A review by Arthur S. Nusbaum:

William S. Burroughs’ Dead Fingers Talk combines texts from the Olympia Press editions of Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine The Ticket That Exploded, along with additional material, cut-up & folded-in to form a new work. The previously published texts from which it partly derives are themselves different from the UK & USA editions of those works.  DFT was first issued in the UK as a hardcover in dust jacket on November 15, 1963 (that’s right, only one week before JFK’s assassination).  Two softcover editions with lurid junky-shooting-himself-up covers were issued in 1966 & 1970, also in the UK, as described & shown as items A7a-c in Maynard & Miles’William S. Burroughs- A Bibliography, 1953-73, the indispensable skullerly resource for WSB collectors.  No other editions that I’m aware of have appeared, & these UK editions are long out of print & increasingly rare, especially the first & only hardcover edition.  A typically short-lived but influential UK punk band of the late 1970s was named after this work, & the title of their album,  Storm the Reality Studios, was of course also taken from/inspired by WSB.  Too bad there aren’t many to go around, no home should be without it.  A particularly exponential exercise in subverting the pre-recorded universe, perhaps the ultimate exemplar of his ever-controversial cut-up phase.


You can purchase this product, and others, at Third Mind Books.

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David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom literary journal and the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult.He travels a lot and currently lectures in China. He also runs an ESL website. You can read more about and by David at his blog, or on Tumblr.

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