The Yage Letters Redux

In January 1953, William Burroughs began a seven-month expedition into the jungles of South America, ostensibly to find yage, the fabled hallucinogen of the Amazon. But Burroughs also cast his anthropological-satiric eye over the local regimes to record trademark vignettes of political and psychic malaise. From the notebooks he kept and the letters he wrote home to Allen Ginsberg, Burroughs composed a narrative of his adventures that appeared ten years later as ?In Search of Yage? within The Yage Letters. That book, published by City Lights in 1963, was completed by the addition of Ginsberg?s account of his own experiences with yage as he traveled through South America in 1960, and by the addition of other Burroughs letters and texts. For this new edition, Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has gone back to the original manuscripts to untangle the history of the text, telling the fascinating...

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