The Outsider, complete set

John Edgar Webb and Gypsy Lou Webb

A complete set (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) with subscription letter from early subscriber. Beautifully crafted artisanal “little” literary magazine published originally from an apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1960’s by Jon Edgar Webb and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. Famous (or infamous) for bringing to national prominence the work of Charles Bukowski, it also published work from renowned literary luminaries such as Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Kenneth Patchen, Henry Miller, Diane Di Prima, Gregory Corso and Thomas McGrath among so many others. A great collection of this literary journal and of interest to Bukowski and/or late Beat Generation collectors.

Vol. 1, Number 1, Fall 1961 is 9" x6", 102 pages, in Very Good condition in wrappers, spine corners bumped, edge corners slightly bumped, some wrinkling along spine. Front and rear covers have pictures in blue wash, with front cover featuring one of the publishers of this venture, Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb and the rear cover has pictures of some of the contributors. Frontispiece in onionskin paper, stamped in red ink “PRINTED BY HAND in New Orleans USA”, otherwise blank. Pages are clean and unmarked, but browned around all edges. End fly-leaf is stamped in red ink “Subscribers WILL BE LISTED AS DONORS IN OUTSIDER NO. 2”. Section of contributors is in glossy paper, with 2 pages of b/w photographs of same. Some b/w line illustrations. List of contributors and editorial masthead on front cover verso. Writers included in this premier issue are a constellation of literary stars from that time period of early 60’s Beat and moderns including Burroughs, Ginsburg, Ferlinghetti, Corso, Diane Di Prima, Gilbert Sorrentino, as well as Langston Hughes and Kay Boyle among others not as well known. Of course, a section of poems by Bukowski. This issue was the only one of the series hand-pressed by the Webbs. A very rare collector piece. Protected in plastic.

Vol. 1, Number 2, Summer 1962 is 9' x 6' , 112 pages, in Fine condition in wrappers, all corners bumped; bottom of rear wrapper has slight creasing near bottom fore-edge corner. Very slight wrinkling to top and bottom edges of wrappers; archival-quality frontispiece stamped on top front corner in red ink “PRINTED BY HAND in New Orleans USA”, otherwise blank, slightly browned along edges. All pages are very clear and in fine condition; no markings or notes. Due to the publishing idiosyncrasies of the press (explained in the “The Editor’s Bit” starting on page 6), not all pages are of uniform quality (rag content, e.g.) or page stock. Included in this issue is again the spectacular array of writers from that period including Kerouac, Burroughs, Nemerov, Patchen and, of course, Bukowski plus others not as well known or positively obscure. Extensively illustrated with b/w line drawings and b/w photographs. Protected in plastic.

Vol. 1, Number 3, Spring 1963 is 9" x 6", 138 pages, in Very Good condition in wrappers, slight de-pasting of glued spine at top of spine but still intact/holding, but fragile; some slight wrinkling to spine-end corners, corners very slightly bumped; archival-quality frontispiece stamped on top front corner in red ink “PRINTED BY HAND IN New Orleans USA”. Additionally, near the stamp, what appears to be Jon Edgar Webb’s initials beneath a short “Help a Little?!”, handwritten in blue ballpoint pen ink. Very slight browning to edges of some pages; others a bit more browned throughout page. This is due to, again, the inconsistent nature of the publishing of the journal (see note for Vol. 1, No. 2) with pages not of uniform stock. Contents, along with lesser-known writers, again the notables of literature from that period, including Burroughs, Carl Solomon, Patchen, and Bukowski, who is featured in this issue as the “Outsider of the Year” award winner, with a whole section devoted to Bukowski including an essay by R. R. Cuscaden, poems and letters by Bukowski and a page of 9 small b/w photos of Bukowski smoking and working as his typewriter, not to mention that he’s featured on the front cover. A must for the Bukowski collector! Issue is illustrated with b/w line drawings and b/w photographs. Pages are clean and unmarked. Protected in plastic.

Vol. 2, Numbers 4/5, Winter 1968-69 is 9.5" x 6.5", 212 pages, in Fine condition in “stiffcover” format (i.e. heavy card-stock for wrappers with a coated paper wrapper as a jacked, glue-pasted onto the stiff boards); all corners crisp and sharp. By this time, the publishers of the magazine of “The Outsider” had moved to Tucson, Arizona and their production quality had obviously improved. Pages are thus a bit more uniform than previous numbers. Heavily illustrated with line drawings in burgundy/red; some red-tinted illustrations; includes a section of cartoons by Kelsie Harder; page facing this section is heavily browned. Heavy cardstock for endpapers. Again, an incredible collection of work from all kinds of writers, the usual (Bukowski, of course) but also Diane Di Prima and Denise Levertov, Lawrence Durrell among many others, including an homage and tribute to Kenneth Patchen by writers such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Allen Ginsburg, Kenneth Rexroth, etc. Pages are clean and corners sharp. An absolutely beautiful piece of literary history. The “Editor’s Bit” at the end of the magazine claims that this is the last issue due to a series of illnesses and setbacks in the lives of the editors (most notably, a flood that destroyed much of their paper stock and type, among many other personal effects). A heart-wrenching appeal for help ends one of the most stunningly original and important literary “little” magazines of the 1960’s. Protected in plastic bag.

Bonus material: An early subscriber and supporter kept a carbon-copy of his request for a subscription to “The Outsider”. A very nice piece of associated ephemera.

 

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