William Burroughs book covers


This site has a great selection of Burroughs’ cover art. By no means complete but pages like this are always fascinating for showing the variety of visual interpretations that can be brought to a single title. Also nice to see how books looked in their earlier editions before they achieved status as “classic” works. And sometimes you see odd book title variations, so Queer in some foreign editions has become Pederast.


Too many great designs to choose from so I’ve picked out a couple of favourites by Thomi Wroblewski for Picador editions of the early Eighties. Cities of the Red Night remains my favourite Burroughs novel and I still toy with the idea of doing an illustrated edition one day.

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9 thoughts on “William Burroughs book covers”

  1. I thought it was hilarious that the first time I read Junky or Junkie depending on where it’s published it was the Penguin classic edition and it had been banned for so long before that. Preface to the Penguin edition found here


    (hope the long link works)

    It’s nice to actually see photos of Burroughs on the Picador covers.

    Also good to hear his voice on REM’s **** me kitten


    It’s so long since I saw Drugstore Cowboy that I can’t remember him acting in it.


  2. I think the picture of Burroughs on the Reader may be a drawing actually, Thomi Wroblewski has quite a detailed realistic style.

    Burroughs featured on a number of albums in later years although recordings of him reading go back to the 1960s. Laurie Anderson was one of the first with Sharkey’s Night on Mister Heartbreak (1984). Then Bill Laswell did a whole album, Seven Souls, in 1989 and things went on from there. Seven Souls is still my favourite as it’s a great set of readings (from The Western Lands) with some great music.

    He turns up at the end of Drugstore Cowboy playing an old junkie who “must have shot a million dollars into his arm”.

  3. john,
    i would really like to see your take on C>O>T>R….,
    it is by far the best fiction he produced.
    what’s your take on Gysin, i have been spending some time on him here, the poems of poems illustrates how synbiotic these two were…
    on another note,
    not quite Lord Horror,
    but have you read the Mailer book yet?
    take care
    btw did G ever send you some audio

  4. Hi Mark.

    Re: Gysin, I love Here To Go and The Third Mind. His novel The Process is fascinating as well, worth searching out. Haven’t read Bardo Hotel.

    Dave B was reading the Mailer book. Says he likes it. I doubt I’d get round to it, still plowing through the collected works of Cormac McCarthy.

    btw did G ever send you some audio


  5. Hi John

    I’m a Burroughs fan, his literature, if not his life style. He remains a great influence in my writing and, in fact, I’ve written a book called INVISIBLE MAN – THE GHOST OF WILLIAM LEE (in Portuguese, I’m afraid) that I can send you a copy of (it was self-published) if you provide me with a mail box office number to send it to. It’s not exactly a biography of Old Bill Lee, it’s more about myself, really, and his influence on my work. I’ve written it a few years after Bill’s death. How about taking a chance on your Portuguese and read it? It´s not very large, about 70 pages. anyway, if you want it, let me know by my e-mail above, OK?
    Best regards

  6. Hi Márcio. You’re welcome to send anything to the address on my contact page although I only read English. Can understand enough French to get by but not enough to enjoy literature. As for Portuguese, I’m not even very au fait with Spanish.

  7. Hey, John

    OK, I’ll send you the book anyway, with some explanations in English on what it´s about. One day, who knows, you may get more acquainted with Spanish or Portuguese and then, give the book a try. In my case, I am acquainted with English, French, Spanish and Italian because I work as a free lancer translator, and I make translations into portuguese of all these languages (and vive-versa). Anyway, I’ll send you some items, just wait a few days. In the meantime, all the best.

  8. Hi, John

    Good to see feuilleton back on the air.
    I’ve sent you the book, plus a copy of my comic adaptation for THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI last week, you should be receiving it in a few days, I hope.
    Made some notes in English throughout the book, and the comic, hope you enjoy it. Be happy to hear your comments about the work.
    For the time being, all the best.

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