Collection Book of the Week – The Naked Lunch

Naked lunch cover

So here is part two in my series looking at the meagre contents of my collection of first edition books. For more general information please see my previous post here. So, in addition to the Enid Blyton books that we discussed, I enjoy Beat Generation authors, although I do not have many examples in my collection. I do however have a copy of the first UK edition of ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. Since it is only a first UK edition it is not worth anything like the original Olympia Press edition, the true first edition. It is, however, the book that I have spent the most on in my collection. This is one of my favourite collection books having a really interesting cover, although I confess I have never actually read the book itself. I do have a paperback copy that I am trying to get to.

P1000048 P1000050

So the UK first edition was published in 1964 by John Calder (publishers) Ltd. This copy is in pretty good condition with solid boards and no evidence of rolling of the spine. The dust cover is in pretty good condition too, although I have just noticed a small tear at the bottom, on the back, rather annoyingly. It is not price clipped and was originally available for 42s (shillings). I purchased this at the Cambridge Book Fair in 2012, an annual event that seems to exist purely to empty my wallet, every time I go. Oh, and there are lots of very cool books there too.

Another interesting thing about this book was that when examining it I found inserted between two pages an old, yellowed, newspaper clipping about William Burroughs from what looks to be the Guardian Newspaper. I am not sure of the date of that, but it was nice to find this extra little piece of history, despite it being an article slating Burrough’s book , ‘Nova Express’.


Hopefully this has been of some interest. Another exciting instalment next week. I am sure you can hardly contain your excitement. What shall I pick next, I wonder. Comments are always welcomed, as usual.

12 thoughts on “Collection Book of the Week – The Naked Lunch

    • Thanks for the comment John. I really do hope that I will not be the cause of your sleeplessness tonight, but I just have to share the wonder of books with the world. It is a compulsion 🙂


  1. I am enjoying these posts, Julian. Like John, I can’t wait for the next installment 😉 Finding that old Guardian clip does add quite a bit of interest (if not monetary value) to the book. Goodness, I get excited when I find my own old receipts in my books!


    • I am glad that you are enjoying these posts. I have just rewritten it though as I was told that it was pedestrian and boring. Yes, the cutting was a nice little extra to find in the book. I have a set of Winston Churchill’s ‘Second World War’ that I found a mess receipt in probably from an officer that had bought the books. These things make the books seem, more, somehow, gives them a life in the real world.


      • Yes, one of the many joys of used printed books is you get a sense of the person or persons who owned the book before you. Although it reduces the monetary value of an old book, I actually love it when I find a book that was given as a gift and has a dedication written in it. Especially if the dedication was written way before my time 🙂


  2. Pingback: Collection Book of the Week – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy | Julian Froment's Blog

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