“Last Words . . . presents fresh cues to the larger design of [Burroughs’s] imagination, and a means of gaining a renewed perspective on his work.” The New York Times Book Review
The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs
978-0-8021-3778-4 • $12.00 • Paperback • Feb. 2001
The author of Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs is one of the most celebrated literary outlaws of our time. Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs is the most intimate work Burroughs ever wrote, a complex portrait of Burroughs at the end of his life, coming to terms with aging and death.
Culled from journal entries of the last nine months of his life, Last Words spans the realms of cultural criticism, personal memoir, and fiction. Classic Burroughs concerns—rants on U.S. drug policy, contempt of the state of the human race, his love for his cats—permeate the book. He breaks into classic “routines” and provides frequent commentary on whatever he is reading—from high literature to low-brow thrillers.
The “Old Man” emerges as frequently comical, sometimes meditative, always engaged—a commentator on the state of the world and the self. Most significantly, Last Words reveals the most open and vulnerable Burroughs we have ever seen. His reflections on the deaths of his friends Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary provide a window on the preparations Burroughs was making for his own death—a quest for absolution marked by a profound sense of guilt and loss.
Last Words is unlike anything else in the oeuvre of William S. Burroughs. It is the purest, most personal work ever presented by this writer, and a poignant portrait of the man, his life, and his creative process—one that never quit, even in the shadow of death.