The exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of William S. Burroughs's novel Naked Lunch and provides an overview of Columbia University's extensive holdings of rare books and original manuscripts related to the novel's creation, composition, and editing, as well as other unique Burroughs material. The exhibition includes the original manuscripts of Burroughs's first two novels, Junkie (1953) and Naked Lunch (1959), and correspondence to and from Burroughs, and his close friends and collaborators Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, as well as photographs, and Burroughs's own Dream Machine.
The William S. Burroughs Papers is one of several important collections held by Columbia University documenting the Beat Generation. Also held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library are the Lucian Carr Papers, the Gregory Corso Papers, the Allen Ginsberg Papers, Jack Kerouac Correspondence, and several other collections of writers, publishers, and literary agents related to the Beat Generation. The collections include manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, ephemera, and art works, making the RBML a rich archive of materials for the study of avant-garde twentieth-century American literature.
The exhibition was organized and overseen by Gerald W. Cloud, Curator of literature in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. This exhibition is published online by the Libraries Digital Program Division, one of the many E-Resources accessible to the Columbia community and the public.