This month is the 110th anniversary of William S. Burroughs’ birth. To celebrate, we are doing a whole month of features related to El Hombre Invisible. Today, we have details of a few books about Burroughs that will be published in the not-too-distant future.

William S. Burroughs in Context (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)

Edited by Oliver Harris, Davis Schneiderman, and Alex Wermer-Colan

Because there is no American writer who has directly impacted so many diverse cultural histories as Burroughs, this volume of 38 essays for Cambridge’s popular “Literature in Context” series explores Burroughs in the context of his rich and varied life. The edition covers the expected territory, Burroughs as a Beat writer, an expatriate writer, an “obscene” novelist, an experimental avant-garde artist, a patron saint of Heavy Metal, an early Postmodernist, and the godfather of Punk and Cyberpunk, etc. The volume also seeks to place Burroughs in currently underexplored contexts: Burroughs as an anthropologist, prophet, conspiracy theorist, magus, boy scout, poet, performance artist, environmentalist, and many others. This project will also attend to the evolution of Burroughs’ work and thinking as expressed through this thematic exploration and how that work remains newly relevant in a world of deepfakes, AI, and partisan media manipulation. The contributors run the gamut from the top Burroughs scholars to newer voices, whose work will together produce a volume that will not only place Burroughs in context but also establish how that context continues to inform his legacy.

The Third Mind and The Book of Methods (two volumes, forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press)

Edited by Marcus Boon and Davis Schneiderman

Davis Schneiderman and Marcus Boon’s work on reconstructing the history and texts of Burroughs and Gysin’s famous “cut-up manual,” The Third Mind, slowly approaches publication. The first volume, The Third Mind, is a reconstruction of the never-before-published 1970 Grove Press edition, which was aborted a few steps away from publication. The second volume is a new collection of Burroughs’ and Gysin’s writings on the cut-up, and a history of important moments in their multi-decade collaboration around the project, based on many years of archival research by the editors. The projects have a fascinating history and show the arc of the collaboration, from the earliest idea for a cut-up manual, 1963’s “The Book of Methods;” through 1965’s “Right Where You Are Now;” through the aborted 1970 edition, 1975’s French edition, edited by Gerard Georges Lemaire, Oeuvre Croissee; to the Richard Seaver-published 1978 first English publication, The Third Mind. The Book of Methods companion volume offers selections of Burroughs and Gysin’s voluminous correspondence on the collaborations, as well as manuscripts and excerpts that show the project’s development over time.