Is This a Never-Before-Published Masterpiece From the Most Dangerous Writer on the Planet

When a review starts off like this ………………………………………………………………………………………

BATTLE INSTRUCTIONS is the most important new publication by William S. Burroughs not only since the writer’s death in 1997 but quite possibly since The Third Mind made it into print in 1978

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attention must be paid.

Postscript: Aug; 25 — Per Richard Aaron’s complaint that this blogpost did not include any quotations from the review, how about this one?

Many readers will have had a premonition of BATTLE INSTRUCTIONS in “The Last Words of Hassan Sabbah,” known for the recordings of Burroughs incanting it in a hypnotically glowering voice. “Last Words” was the text that opened up the whole of BATTLE INSTRUCTIONS  for Burroughs. He wrote it in May 1960, describing it as “the testament of Hassan i Sabbah which came to me under mescaline,” and sent a draft to publisher Dave Haselwood. It was too late to include “Last Words” in The Exterminator, which Haselwood was just about to put out under the auspices of his Auerhahn Press.  …

Burroughs then included “Last Words” in a second manuscript which he sent to Haselwood on August 30, 1960, with the idea that Auerhahn would publish a follow-up called EXTERMINATOR II or THE INITIATOR. Never one to consider a text finished, Burroughs kept working on the material and added several further chapters. It is that never-published Auerhahn manuscript and the additional chapters which [Oliver] Harris has recovered from various archives to create BATTLE INSTRUCTIONS, deriving the title from a phrase that recurs in the material.

And here’s a recording of Burroughs’s voice from the time when he was, as the review puts it, “arguably the riskiest, most relevant writer on the planet.”

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Comments

  1. Richard says

    I dunno…curious but I find utter lack of direct quotes odd. Call me Missouri but I wanna some lines before blindly leaping. Come on Jan, you go first, tell us your take, give us some quotes.

    • Jan Herman says

      That’s the beauty of the internet. hah. the link “attention must be paid” takes you directly to any quote you want. besides, i’ve been dealing with a power outage. power came back but the wifi connection was and still is too balky to post much.

      • Jan Herman says

        PS: It’s the best thing I’ve read in years abt why WSB was so great, It’s inspired. Inspiring too. Brings him back alive better than all the biographies, the exegeses etc. Nothing else to say abt it except three overused letters.: W.O.W.

  2. Richard says

    And just now stumbled upon Reality Studio which makes it clear that this is the text of LAST WORDS OF HASSAN I SABBAH. The tape I had and used for recording was 1958 and the text of this new publication appears assembled from various reworkings of text over a period of years. William hesitated giving me permission to do my publication and recording – he felt it too rhetorical. Happy to see this version published – pity they did not see fit to do a CD of the Am Here recording.

 


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