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William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings, 1997

Gysin, Brion, 1916-1986

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 and one folder of letters from artist David Bradshaw to art collectors Stanley and Elyse Grinstein about William Burroughs.

Biographical/Historical Note

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) was a writer in New York, Mexico, Morocco, and Kansas. Burroughs's friend, painter and poet Brion Gysin, developed the "cut-up technique" of writing, a form of collage using blocks of randomly arranged text, which was popularized by Burroughs. Gysin taught the cut-up technique to Burroughs at the Beat Hotel in Paris, France around 1959, and Burroughs implemented the technique to create his third novel, Naked Lunch . The two continued to collaborate on projects and remained close friends.


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.

Related Materials

Language Note

Collection is in English.