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Blade Runner: A movie.
Burroughs, William S.
Welcome to the genetic edition of William S. Burroughs' Blade Runner (a movie).
This project is the result of a collaboration between the University of Antwerp's Centre for Manuscript Genetics (helmed by Dirk Van Hulle) and Florida State University's William S. Burroughs Laboratory (helmed by S. E. Gontarski). In late 2012, a group of graduate students (including Paul Ardoin, Thomas Bevilacqua, Eric...
Show moreWelcome to the genetic edition of William S. Burroughs' Blade Runner (a movie).
This project is the result of a collaboration between the University of Antwerp's Centre for Manuscript Genetics (helmed by Dirk Van Hulle) and Florida State University's William S. Burroughs Laboratory (helmed by S. E. Gontarski). In late 2012, a group of graduate students (including Paul Ardoin, Thomas Bevilacqua, Eric Bledsoe, Adam R. McKee, Blake Stricklin, and Andrew Walker) recovered a cache of documents on a property in Lloyd, Florida, owned by the late François Bucher, a former art history professor at Florida State. These documents now make up FSU's Burroughs archive, catalogued by Blake Stricklin and Peter Yang (with assistance from Alex Oxner), and digitized and overseen by Katie McCormick, associate dean of special collections for FSU's libraries. The documents include numerous cut ups, dream projects, and letters written by William S. Burroughs, as well as the earliest extant drafts of Burroughs's Blade Runner (a movie) novella.
Blade Runner (a movie) is itself a curious project. The novella, first published in 1979 (Blue Wind Press), is a re-imagining of Alan E. Nourse's 1974 novel The Bladerunner. (For more on the relationship between these texts, as well as the relationship between these texts and the later Ridley Scott film, see Paul Ardoin's "Versions, Cut Ups, and Bladerunners: Critique and Revision in Nourse and Burroughs," forthcoming in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction.) Burroughs's text, as published, is a take on the Hollywood screen "treatment," and is shaped as a fictional "pitch" of a movie idea, narrated by an unnamed figure to a listener named B. J. The novella and its various drafts make reference to Nourse's text and imagine its portrayal (and possible complications) on screen.
This project gathers together the FSU drafts and typescript, along with a revised typescript held by Ohio State University, and creates a digital transcription of all the extant versions of the text, as well as a mark-up of Burroughs's (and his proofreaders') amendments, notes, and doodles. The site allows researchers to consult high quality scans of the original materials alongside the transcriptions. Additionally, the site includes tools that allow researchers to easily compare a single sentence across multiple drafts, providing new insight into Burroughs's process of composition.
Special thanks to James Grauerholz, who was instrumental in locating, organizing, and reading these documents, and whose contribution to the original text is apparent throughout.
Transcribed and edited by Paul Ardoin, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp
Technical realization, digital infrastructure, and additional editing by Vincent Neyt and Dirk Van Hulle, Centre for Manuscript Genetics, University of Antwerp
This project makes use of CollateX for its collation feature
Contact the editors at "paul dot ardoin at utsa dot edu", or "vincent dot neyt at uantwerpen dot be"