Burroughs, William Seward. 1914-1997; and Brion Gysin. 1916-1986. A collection of 7 autograph and typed manuscript leaves, being pages from early drafts eventually collected as The Third Mind.

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Lot 191
Burroughs, William Seward. 1914-1997; and Brion Gysin. 1916-1986.
A collection of 7 autograph and typed manuscript leaves, being pages from early drafts eventually collected as The Third Mind.

Sold for US$ 21,250 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

12 Jun 2018, 13:00 EDT

New York

Burroughs, William Seward. 1914-1997; and Brion Gysin. 1916-1986.
A collection of 7 autograph and typed manuscript leaves, being pages from early drafts eventually collected as The Third Mind. Tangiers, Paris and New York, [c.1961-65], 8vo, recto only, comprising: two typed leaves on ruled paper, each in two columns with the number "23" stamped multiple times along the divide (the number 23 being a number that Gysin used as a form of his signature Bg), being the text for published pp 90/91 of the Third Mind; typed leaf on numbered ruled paper, one column, with two cut out sections in mid page, being pp 16/17; manuscript leaf in green felt tip on numbered ruled paper, in Burroughs hand, portions of which appeared in The Third Mind; and a typed ruled leaf with news stories and sketches, with reference to 1964, portions of which appeared in various periodicals at the time, but likely formed part of the manuscript collection from which The Third Mind was published; two abstract drawings by Brion Gysin, on a4 sheets, one on white paper, In the Beginning was the Word, signed "Bg", with a black linear grid background and lettered over in black felt tip "In the Beginning was the word...word was 'the' in the beginning...", the second drawing a linear grid drawing in dark red color with pooling and smudging (possibly blood).
Provenance: William Burroughs, part of his "Vaduz" archive of papers kept in a Saratoga trunk in his New York Apartment; gifted to his friend David Prentice (New York artist, who lived below Burroughs on Centre St, New York City, and was given a 6 inch pile of papers from the trunk, as a thank you for storing the trunk).

A COLLECTION OF LEAVES FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DRAFTS OF THE THIRD MIND. One of the last surviving groups from the Burroughs "Vaduz" Archive, famously stored in a Saratoga Trunk, comprising papers and art from 1958-1972. The material in the trunk was both pictorial, cut outs and typed, most relating to the "Third Mind" project, a collaboration between Gysin and Burroughs in the period 1961 to 1965. Burroughs and Gysin came back to New York in late 1964 to work on the book, returning to Paris in September 1965, and these leaves seem to date from this period. The work on the book died out after 1965, but the sprawling manuscript was sorted out and a selection of it published in Paris in 1977, and again in English by Viking in New York in 1978. The majority of this final manuscript is in LACMA, with some pieces with a collector in Paris; the chaotic history of the manuscript makes it difficult to know how much has been lost.
The "Vaduz" Archive is so called because in August 1973 Roberto Altman, a Lichtenstein collector/financier, purchased the contents of the trunk, which had been sorted into folders of related material by Burroughs, Gysin and Barry Miles, a Burroughs biographer. Burroughs had been feeling broke and depressed in England and needed money to get out, and it was Gysin's idea to cash in their work. Initially the archive was intended to be sold to Columbia University through Gotham Book Mart, but Burroughs broke the contract. In the end, Burroughs, Gysin and the dealer Richard Aaron, who knew Altman, all went to Altman's home in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, did the deal, and banked the cash in a Lichtenstein Bank. After the dealer's commission, Burroughs and Gysin split the remainder 50/50, as it was the process had been a collaboration. The papers remained in Vaduz for a few years, with the idea that they would be made into a museum, but in mid 1970s they were sold on to an American literary collector from Cleveland. In 2004, he sold them on to the New York Public Library where they now reside in the Berg Collection. The present owner of these few leaves, sold a bulk group of similar 1961-65 leaves at Christies East in May 2000, but they were catalogued without detailed explanation. Prentice, who was a reasonable carpenter, famously built an "Orgone Accumulator in Burrough's Franklin St apartment. The aim of the accumulator was to focus cosmic rays. It was a small closed wooden box, with a seat, the wood encased in metal plate and in this case, the outside covered with black rabbit fur!
The Gysin drawings, an integral part of the Third Mind project, figure in a short movie by Burroughs/ Anthony Balch, called "Cut-ups," shot in the mid-1960s, showing Burroughs and Gysin wandering around Paris, and Gysin working on linear grid drawings such as these; the soundtrack has Burroughs reciting "In the Beginning." It was Gysin who introduced Burroughs to the cut-up technique, and in a 1997 interview for the Guardian, Burroughs called Gysin "the only man that I've ever respected in my life. I've admired people, I've liked them, but he's the only man I've ever respected."
Contacts
Burroughs, William Seward. 1914-1997; and Brion Gysin. 1916-1986. A collection of 7 autograph and typed manuscript leaves, being pages from early drafts eventually collected as The Third Mind.
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