Top Right Search Box

OneSearch   |   My Account

William S. Burroughs Archive

bladerunnerbook.jpgWelcome to the genetic edition of William S. Burroughs' Blade Runner (a movie).

To register for full access to the site please go to

As the materials in the online portal are still under copyright, the Estate of William S. Burroughs has asked that all users register for access. Once registered, researchers will have full access to the comparative module initially conceived of and encoded by Paul Ardoin and a team and University of Antwerp. The current module is an update of the technology by FSU Libraries Technology Team.

From Dr. Paul Ardoin:
This project originated as 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 & Archives 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. Full information about the Burroughs materials in the Francois Bucher Papers is available at:

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.

Phase 1 Project Team

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

Original Technical realization, digital infrastructure, and additional editing by Vincent Neyt and Dirk Van Hulle, Centre for Manuscript Genetics, University of Antwerp

Phase 2 Project Team

Project leads and Advisors: Paul Ardoin, Dr. Stanley E. Gontarski, Blake Stricklin, Katie McCormick
FSU Libraries Technology Team: Bryan Brown, Sarah Stanley, Matthew Miguez, Micah Vandegrift

About The Florida State University Libraries

The mission of the University Libraries is to support and enhance the learning, teaching, research, and service activities of the Florida State University...