Notable works: "Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict", "The Yage Letters", "The Naked Lunch", "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks"
William S. Burroughs Facts
William S. Burroughs, in full William Seward Burroughs, (born February 5, 1914, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.--died August 2, 1997, Lawrence, Kansas), American writer of experimental novels that evoke, in deliberately erratic prose, a nightmarish, sometimes wildly humorous world. His sexual explicitness (he was an avowed and outspoken homosexual) and the frankness with which he dealt with his experiences as a drug addict won him a following among writers of the Beat movement.
Burroughs was the grandson of the inventor of the Burroughs adding machine and grew up in St. Louis in comfortable circumstances, graduating from Harvard University in 1936 and continuing study there in archaeology and ethnology. Having tired of the academic world, he then held a variety of jobs. In 1943 Burroughs moved to New York City, where he became friends with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, two writers who would become principal figures in the Beat movement. Burroughs first took morphine about 1944, and he soon became addicted to heroin. That year Lucien Carr, a member of Burroughs's social circle, killed a man whom Carr claimed had made sexual advances toward him. Before turning himself in to the police, Carr confessed to Burroughs and Kerouac, who were both arrested as material witnesses. They were later released on bail, and neither man was charged with a crime; Carr was convicted of manslaughter but was later pardoned. In 1945 Burroughs and Kerouac collaborated on a fictionalized retelling of those events entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Rejected by publishers at the time, it was not published until 2008.
In 1949 he moved with his second wife to Mexico, where in 1951 he accidentally shot and killed her in a drunken prank. Fleeing Mexico, he wandered through the Amazon region of South America, continuing his experiments with drugs, a period of his life detailed in The Yage Letters, his correspondence with Ginsberg written in 1953 but not published until 1963. Between travels he lived in London, Paris, Tangier, and New York City but in 1981 settled in Lawrence, Kansas.
He used the pen name William Lee in his first published book, Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict (1953, reissued as Junky in 1977), an account of the addict's life. The Naked Lunch (Paris, 1959; U.S. title, Naked Lunch, 1962; film 1991) was completed after his treatment for drug addiction. All forms of addiction, according to Burroughs, are counterproductive for writing, and the only gain to his own work from his 15 years as an addict came from the knowledge he acquired of the bizarre, carnival milieu in which the drug taker is preyed upon as victim. The grotesqueness of this world is vividly satirized in Naked Lunch, which also is much preoccupied with homosexuality and police persecution. In the novels that followed--among them The Soft Machine (1961), The Wild Boys (1971), Exterminator! (1973), Cities of the Red Night (1981), Place of Dead Roads (1983), Queer (1985), The Western Lands (1987), and My Education: A Book of Dreams (1995)--Burroughs further experimented with the structure of the novel. Burroughs (1983), by filmmaker Howard Brookner, is a documentary on the artist's life.
After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.
Admittedly, a homosexual can be conditioned to react sexually to a woman, or to an old boot for that matter. In fact, both homo - and heterosexual experimental subjects have been conditioned to react sexually to an old boot, and you can save a lot of money that way.
I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn't seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.
No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.
Beating On Against the Current"Each individuals inevitable Every single of us unlimited – every single of us along with his or her right upon the earth, Every single of us allowed the timeless purports from the earth, Every of us here as divinely as any can be here" (Whitman 27). Coming from out of the brighten soaked roadways of New You are able to City, arose a group of young poets and writers overwrought with the opportunity of their lives, and pursued to capture it is girth through the honesty and vulnerability of their words. These young bohemians would after lead the rythm Movement,..