Dead Roads

In response to:

The Invisible Man from the May 10, 1984 issue

To the Editors:

Without faulting Luc Sante’s interesting article about my life and work [NYR, May 10], I wish to clarify a few small errors. Sante’s references to my “misogyny” make no allowance for my statements on the subject since 1970: I have often said that it is not women per se, but the dualism of the male–female equation, that I consider a mistake. Whatever non-women-oriented tendencies may be found in my writing, in my personal life I have many close women friends, as well as women readers.

The next is a picayune, if felicitous, error, but the fictional town of St. Albans in The Place of Dead Roads is set not in Kansas, but in Missouri, west of St. Louis.

Lastly, it should be explained that apomorphine’s effects in no way resemble those of any narcotic opiate, as Sante infers. The drug’s chief outward effect is nausea and vomiting, but Dr. John Dent held that apomorphine also acts as a metabolic regulator, i.e., it may enhance the restoration of the brain’s own production of beta-endorphin, the pleasure-governor, which addiction to opiates tends to diminish and supplant. As for any FDA conspiracy to suppress the use of apomorphine in the treatment of opiate addiction, I would now say only that to my knowledge there have been very few serious experimental tests of its effectiveness for that purpose, and given Dr. Dent’s successes with the drug, it seems odd that its potential should remain largely unexplored.

William S. Burroughs

Lawrence, Kansas