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New Left Review I/26, July-August 1964

Vanguard Culture

‘William Burroughs—extremely gifted writer—almost a giant compared with Kerouac, etc—correctly described by the introduction as being in the tradition of Dostoievsky, Kafka and Beckett—his unbridled intellective violence and genuinely modern imagination make him a good interpreter and excellent poet of this epoch of ours: an epoch which projects itself beyond the planet Earth with the very bodies of human beings while it is at the same time more than ever confused and troubled about its own resources, about its own capacity not to collapse into something subterranean and subhuman. Burroughs’ narrative offers the spectacle and the meaning of a world which is far from being reduced to a sanctuary for insects, but which is struggling in a vortex of force and weakness in which man is still the protagonist, striving to reaffirm in a manner stronger and more free than hitherto his authority as miracle-animal, as rational being, poetic, formed by history.’

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New Left Review, ‘Vanguard Culture’, NLR I/26: £3

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