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William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings, 1963-1973, 1997

Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997

Writer, Collagist

This site provides access to the writings of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 517 images.

Collection Information

Size: 0.4 linear feet

Summary: The writings of American writer William S. Burroughs and British writer Brion Gysin measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1963 to 1973, and 1997. This collection includes three books of writings by Burroughs and Gysin. Also found is one folder of letters from artist David Bradshaw to art collectors Stanley and Elyse Grinstein about William Burroughs.
The three books of writings by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin use a "cut-up technique" of diaristic writings. Drawings, clippings, photos, and other items are pasted onto the pages throughout the books. Two of the books were created in agenda books and the third was created in a Les Goelands notebook. The third book has been identified as "John Brady's book," after a friend of Burroughs. There are a few loose pages from the Les Goelands notebook in a corresponding folder and one folder of letters about Burroughs written by the artist David Bradshaw.

Biographical/Historical Note

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) was a writer in New York, Mexico, Morocco, and Kansas. Burroughs' friend, painter, writer and poet Brion Gysin, developed the "cut-up technique" of writing, a form of collage using blocks of texts randomly arranged, which was popularized by Burroughs.


The William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings were donated in 2017 by the Grinstein family, via Ayn Grinstein, Ellen Grinstein Perliter, and Nancy Grinstein, executors.

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