Here's a 3-part series on Robert Crumb's comments on dozens of "the famous and infamous," compiled from a large number of interviews. I find it fascinating and I often (but not always) agree with him.
Crumb on Others
Robert: "I love Burroughs also; a great writer. But his best writing is his straight-ahead prose. He wrote all this crazy fantasy stuff, which I think he was encouraged to do by this other beatnik writer, Brian Gyson, who, for some reason Burroughs admired. Gyson was, I think, a jive-ass, bullshit kind of guy. Burroughs, I think he lacked confidence in his own writing, because when he wrote straight prose it didn’t sell well. When he wrote Junky, and that came out, it didn’t sell well in the beginning. And then he wrote this other book, Queer, around the same time in the early ’50s and he couldn’t even get that published. That wasn’t published until the 1980s. And Queer is a great book. Both Junky and Queer are great. They’re both written in this very dry, prose style. And his little thin book called the Yage Letters, which were letters he wrote back to Allen Ginsburg while he was in South America looking for this psychedelic Yage plant. That’s a great book; great stuff. But the problem is, there’s not enough of that, not enough of his straight-ahead prose. He just didn’t think it was any good because he either couldn’t get it published or it didn’t sell. So then he wrote this gimmicky thing called Naked Lunch, which is mostly fantasy stuff and not very interesting to me, and that sold well. He made his reputation on Naked Lunch.
Robert: "I never could get interested in that comic strip. What’s it called? [Doonesbury] I can’t remember the name of it. I just never could get interested in it. I could never read one of his strips to the end. Those sleepy-eyed characters, I just found the drawing style so annoying I couldn’t even read it. It just puts me off."
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