A William S. Burroughs Bibliography

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by Eric C. Shoaf

Eric C. Shoaf’s Collector’s Guide is now available in an updated print edition produced by Inkblot Publications.

The William S. Burroughs material listed in the A-items section are primary publications and these are arranged in chronological order based on date of first publication of the title. Later printings are noted only if they vary from the first printings with textual additions or new cover artwork. Info from the Maynard & Miles bibliography [M&M, William S. Burroughs: A Bibliography 1953-73 by Joe Maynard and Barry Miles, (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1978)] is included for the pre-1974 publications, and items not noted by M&M in their bibliography are so designated here. Pirate editions are also listed, following a trend begun with M&M and the Mayfair Academy Series. Given their nature, there are surely some pirated editions not yet seen or included here. In addition, some Uncorrected Galley Proof and Advanced Reader Copy examples are listed, as these pre-publication copies may include variant text and are of interest to collectors. Only those examined personally by me are included. There are certainly others not included here. The A section includes books and broadside sheets. Materials published after Burroughs’ death in 1997 are included as well. The items here are only primary publications published in the US or UK. Foreign language publications are outside the scope of this work, but may be included in later addendums.

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch, Paris, Olympia Press, 1959B-Items are arranged chronologically according to publication date. However, in some cases the item as listed may not be the first edition published. For example, a paperback bound in wraps may be listed when, in fact, the first publication of the item was hardbound with dust jacket. In most cases, paperbacks follow hardbounds by 12-18 months. No effort has been made to distinguish original essays from reprinted or excerpted selections, an unfortunate oversight for which there is no specific excuse other than the bibliographer did not have an opportunity before the collection was relocated to an institutional setting. Over half the contributions listed are republished from other sources, but there is a lot of material in the B-items that was not published elsewhere.

C-Items are arranged chronologically by publication date, and again no effort is made to highlight original essays. However, most are original works, or were previously unpublished when they first appeared. And while some were reproduced later in a different collected form, much of this material does not appear elsewhere. As such, it is a valuable resource. There are few mainstream publications here, a large number of “little magazines,” later called “zines” but generally typified by cheap production quality (sometimes photocopied) and questionable content — which makes them a lot of fun.

All the items are verified (seen by the bibliographer) except a very few items so marked, though the same proviso exists for these particular parts of the listing as for others in this bibliography: there are probably items that were missed along the way. Every effort has been made to be thorough, but even Burroughs did not own a copy of every publication that used his contribution. The B and C listings begin with publications from 1974, taking off from the end of the Maynard & Miles bibliography.

This is not a descriptive bibliography in that complete collation and careful description of each item is not included. Such would lengthen this work by hundreds of pages to the detriment of easy readability. Neither is it a critical bibliography, although some background, opinion, conjecture, and information from communication with publishers is included where useful. The bibliographer was fortunate to visit Robert Jackson in Cleveland and view the complete “word horde” in 1999 long before its recent sale to the New York public library. Several items viewed have only been documented in the Descriptive Catalogue of the William Burroughs Archive (Miles & Associates, London: Covent Garden Press, 1973) in less than complete format. Examining these helped inform preparation of this work.

Two other sections are included: a listing of materials not included in the original M&M publication but discovered after it appeared, and a listing of articles and books about Burroughs.

A bibliography is by its very nature incomplete unless the bibliographer has examined each item listed. Over 95% of the items here were examined in hand. A few were not seen but the bibliographer has reliable information that they exist, and there also may be variant editions or printings that were missed. For those items, the bibliographer relies on other experts in the field, and some are regular visitors and contributors to this site such as Jed Birmingham and Michael Stevens who have been gracious in sharing of their own bibliographic sleuthing. As this sort of work is an ongoing process, input from others is appreciated.

This bibliography of A-List publications by William S. Burroughs derives from Eric C. Shoaf’s Collecting William S. Burroughs in Print: A Checklist and is published online courtesy of the author, who retains all rights. Published by RealityStudio in April 2007. Updated October 2008, January 2010, and January 2011.

8 thoughts on “A William S. Burroughs Bibliography

  1. Hello,

    I hope you can help me. I need to find a poem by William Burroughs that repeats his name quite few times in text. That is all information I’ve got but I hope your knowledge would be enough to give me any clues.

    All very best,

  2. Burroughs does use his own name from time to time, but that particular work isn’t familiar. Where’d you hear of it?

  3. “The Last Words Of Hassan I Sabbah” comes to mind.

    The name “Burroughs” appears four times in the text at the link below:


    However, “Mr. Luce” is misspelled (loose) and it isn’t as complete as the reading on the vinyl recording from the AM HERE BOOKS Catalogue. Number five if memory serves.

    The link below may produce a more complete text:


  4. How about BURROUGHS CALLED THE LAW? It appears as the last cut on BREAK THROUGH IN GREY ROOM…with his last mooched nickel Burroughs sneaked off to the pay-phone and called the law of all the cheap lousy tricks Burroughs to call the law on your old friends

  5. “Burroughs Called the Law” is one of my favorite pieces of audio. I don’t think it has ever been published separately as a text (not that I can recall). Would you call it a poem?

  6. Eric, Just wanted to say Happy New Year and thanks for all you have done with this site. It’s a great resource for Burroughs fans and collectors alike. And I suspect its a true labour of love (or better known as a money pit!).

  7. I am putting together a book about the RAT newspaper in New York City, 1968-1969. as part of this project, I am gathering the articles and letters from WSB that he sent to the RAT from London back then. You can see a poster of the
    RAT cover which featured WSB and a copy of one of his letters at http://www.ratundergroundnews.com/blog . I have many more of his letters and I would love to get feedback as I am a big fan of WSBurroughs.

  8. I am not a big fan of wm. Burroughs. I don’t care about his homosexuality, but the fantasies of violence are so unhealthy. He also happened to kill his wife playing William Tell with a rifle, that is manslaughter. He was a violent person and just because he told old conservative America to smooch his behind and made shooting smack almost glorified doesn’t elevate his character.

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