Watt and more

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Beckett wrote Watt during WWII, while working in Paris for the French resistance until his group was betrayed to the Gestapo and he went into hiding in Roussillon. Somehow, such a suspenseful existence didn’t really seem to make its way into this, Beckett’s last novel length work written in English. Instead, the story of Watt, a strange, strange man and servant to the reclusive Mr. Knott is filled with some of Beckett’s funniest writing. We get permutations obsessively played out, the most straight faced slapstick ever written, and a brilliant, and I mean brilliant send up of Beckett’s old academic life at Trinity College, Dublin in a strange, extended scene.


If one is new to reading Beckett’s prose, I think this might be the best place to start. His earlier work, while wonderful, tends toward an absurdity of erudition. Still under the spell of Joyce, books like Murphy and More Pricks than Kicks are fantastic but they are still the work of a writer who, while incredibly intelligent and witty, is maybe a little unsure about the whole writing thing. He seeks to impress a little too much. Which is not say that I don’t recommend those books heartily, just maybe not to start with. My humble opinion places the trilogy, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable, at the apex of Beckett’s oeuvre and near the apex of western literature. There is really nothing like those three books. However, they are a commitment, and while they ease one into the rapid breathless prose of The Unnameable, it might be a little much for some. So, Watt. It has all the best bits of Beckett, and we have a gorgeous copy.

photo 4Watt was written, as mentioned during the Second World War, but it was not published until after Beckett’s  amazingly productive period  after the war. He wrote some his most famous works, including Waiting for Godot, Endgame, the above mentioned trilogy. With the success of Godot and co. making publishing much easier for Beckett, this novel appeared only to be somewhat over-shadowed by the postwar work written in French. It is a brilliant work, though.

We have a great collection of Beckett’s works at Bibliohead, including the reason behind this post. Watt. We also have a cheap, pocket edition of the above mentioned trilogy and more. Come check it out!


Alice Munro

Alice Munro retired from writing and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2013. This prolific and consistently brilliant writer couldn’t have been a better recipient of the prestigious award. Haven’t read her work? Do yourself a favor and pick up any of her many collections and introduce yourself to one of the finest writers in the English language. She is a master of the short story. We often have used copies of her work, and we are now carrying a new copy of her last work, Dear Life, but if you know you’re a fan already, we have a beautiful and very affordable first edition of her fantastic, The Progress of Love. Come in and check it out.


Some Special Collectibles

Well, the holidays are over, which means it’s time to reward yourself for making it through another season; get that present for yourself. So, after taking a photo of yourself wearing that hideous sweater grandma got for you so you can prove what grateful person you are, and after returning it, take that sweater cash down to Bibliohead and check out some of our beautiful books. Despite some brisk business over the holidays we still have many great titles, collectible and plain enjoyable. Here’s a photo of some of the great collectible books we recently acquired.


and more


Some specific posts on individual works (with better picture) are forthcoming, including those two dark, imposing tomes on the top left of the above picture. It is a collection of etchings by British landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner. Happy New Year!


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First Editions of William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs First Editions

As previewed last week, this is our selection of Burroughs first editions. All of these are the first appearances of the book in that form, though not necessarily of the content. Some of these books are recollected in other publications, and some are collections of earlier collections—for example, White Subway, a collection of magazine pieces, is re-collected in The Burroughs File, but we have first editions of both.

The Burroughs File, Naked Lunch, Early Routines, Roosevelt after Inauguration, White Subway (First Editions)

This initial picture shows some of the rarer firsts we have. In the middle is the first printing of the first edition of Naked Lunch, in the original, first-printing dustjacket This copy is in excellent condition, with very little bumping to the spine edges and only slight chipping on the dustjacket. It’s flanked by, on the left, a rare first edition of The Burroughs File, and on the right, by a true first, numbered edition of Early Routines (this one is from the unsigned, numbered printing).

At the bottom of this image are first editions of two collections of magazine pieces, Roosevelt after Inauguration and White Subway.

The Wild Boys, Nova Express, The Soft Machine, Port of Saints, and Tornado Alley (First Editions)

Here we have firsts of The Wild Boys and Port of Saints, with a first of Tornado Alley on the right (as issued without dustjacket). At bottom are firsts of Nova Express and The Soft Machine.

The Wild Boys (Pulp), The Ticket that Exploded, and Kentucky Ham (First Editions)

This trio has my favorite cover art of all the first editions (hey, I had to come up with some selection criteria…). This is the first US paperback edition of The Wild Boys, followed by the first editions of The Ticket that Exploded and Kentucky Ham.

Interzone (US and UK), Cities of the Red Night, My Education, and Queer (First Editions)

Top and center here is Cities of the Red Night, flanked by the first UK (on the left) and first US (on the right) editions of Interzone. Finishing this set off are firsts of My Education, Burroughs’s dream journal, and Queer.

The Adding Machine and The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (First Editions) And last, here are first editions of The Adding Machine and The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.

We have many, many more Burroughs books in our collection. If you’re looking for something and you don’t see it listed in one of our posts, please email us and we can send you a complete catalog of the Burroughs items we have for sale.