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William S. Burroughs

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William S. Burroughs
 
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William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914. He is best-known work is 1959's Naked Lunch—which became the focus of a landmark 1962 Supreme Court decision that helped eliminate literary censorship in the United States. Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. His many other works include Junky and The Place of Dead Roads (Picador).
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William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914. He is best-known work is 1959's Naked Lunch—which became the focus of a landmark 1962 Supreme Court decision that helped eliminate literary censorship in the United States. Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. His many other works include Junky and The Place of Dead Roads (Picador).
Books by thisAuthor
  • The Soft Machine

    The Soft Machine
    The Restored Text
    A total assault on the powers that turn humans into machines by writing and fixing our life scripts, Burroughs’ original “cut-up” book was itself rewritten in three different forms. This new edition of The Soft Machine clarifies for the first time the extraordinary history of its writing and rewriting, demolishes the myths of his chance-based writing methods, and demonstrates for a new generation the significance of Burroughs’ greatest experiment. Edited from the original manuscripts by renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris, this revised edition incorporates an introduction and appendices of never before seen materials.

    The Ticket That Exploded

    The Ticket That Exploded
    The Restored Text
    As this new edition reveals, the cultural reach of The Ticket That Exploded has expanded with the viral logic of Burroughs’s multimedia methods, recycling itself into our digital environment. A last chance antidote to the virus of lies spread by the ad men and con men of the Nova Mob, Burroughs’s book is an outrageous hybrid of pulp science fiction, obscene experimental poetry, and manifesto for revolution—as fresh today as it ever has been. Edited from the original manuscripts by renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris, this revised edition incorporates an introduction and appendices of never before seen materials.

    Naked Lunch

    Naked Lunch
    The Restored Text
    Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume—that contains final-draft typescripts, numerous unpublished contemporaneous writings by Burroughs, his own later introductions to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs—is a valuable and fresh experience of a novel that has lost none of its relevance or satirical bite.

    And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

    And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
    In the summer of 1944, a shocking murder rocked the fledgling Beats. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both still unknown, we inspired by the crime to collaborate on a novel, a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and art, obsession and brutality, with scenes and characters drawn from their own lives. Finally published after more than sixty years, this is a captivating read, and incomparable literary artifact, and a window into the lives and art of two of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.

  • Junky

    Junky
    The Definitive Text of "Junk"
    Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life. In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and peddling heroin and other drugs in the 1950s into a work that reads like a field report from the underworld of post-war America. The Burroughs-like protagonist of the novel, Bill Lee, see-saws between periods of addiction and rehab, using a panoply of substances including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, paregoric (a weak tincture of opium) and goof balls (barbiturate), amongst others. For this definitive edition, renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has gone back to archival typescripts to re-created the author's original text word by word. From the tenements of New York to the queer bars of New Orleans, Junky takes the reader into a world at once long-forgotten and still with us today. Burroughs’s first novel is a cult classic and a critical part of his oeuvre.

    Cities of the Red Night

    Cities of the Red Night
    A Novel
    While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch is the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel, The Western Plains.

    Rub Out the Words

    Rub Out the Words
    The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974
    William S. Burroughs was one of the twentieth century’s most iconoclastic literary and artistic figures, an inimitable writer whose groundbreaking work in novels such as Junky and Naked Lunch forever altered the shape of American culture. Now, in this long anticipated collection, editor Bill Morgan takes readers through Burroughs’ correspondence from the early sixties through the mid-seventies, in more than three hundred letters that document Burroughs’ steady drift away from the Beat circle and that witness an era in which he became the center of a new coterie of creative people who would establish his reputation as an influential artistic and cultural leader beyond the literary world, toward multimedia. Written to recipients such as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, Timothy Leary, and Burroughs’ son, Billy Burroughs Jr., these letters shed new light on the writer’s controversial artistic process and literary experimentation, as well as his complex personal life. Here are letters to new friends in North Africa and Eur-ope—partners in Burroughs’ expatriate life—including Paul Bowles, Ian Sommerville, Michael Portman, Alex Trocchi, and the surrealist artist Brion Gysin, who became a close confidant and whose “cut-up method” would deeply influence Burroughs’ writing. An intimate glimpse into the private life of an often misunderstood artist, Rub Out the Words is also an unforgettable portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most uncompromising literary personalities.

    The Job

    The Job
    Interviews with William S. Burroughs
    The Job is William S. Burroughs at work, attacking our traditional values, condemning what he calls "the American nightmare," and expressing his often barbed views on Scientology, the police, orgone therapy, history, women, writing, poitics, sex, drugs, and death. His conversation splices images of death-by-hanging with elevators and airports, the story of his drug addiction and cure with ideas on the use of hieroglyphs.

  • First Thought Best Thought

    First Thought Best Thought
    "First thought, best thought." This was the phrase that poet Allen Ginsberg used to describe spontaneous and fearless writing, a way of telling the truth that arises from naked and authentic experience. For more than 30 years, groundbreaking teachers at Naropa University such as Ginsberg and his colleagues Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs, and Diane di Prima have inspired emerging poets and prose writers to express themselves with unfettered honesty and immediacy. Now, with First Thought, Best Thought, the first landmark release from Naropa University's treasured audio archives, you are invited to meet and learn with these literary mentors face-to-face as they share the secrets of their craft. Selected and edited by poet and Naropa alumnus Randy Roark from thousands of hours of performance and teaching sessions, First Thought, Best Thought brings you four rare gems of inspiration and practical wisdom, including: William S. Burroughs teaching his breakthrough methods for generating fresh writing—including the cut-up method, chance operations, and dreamworkDiane di Prima on how to survive as an artist—preserving your sensibility, creating a supportive artistic community, getting published, self-publishing, and much moreAllen Ginsberg exploring every stage of poetic activity—from inspiration, to composition, to revision, to performing your poetry in publicAnne Waldman on the elements of the poet's craft—from the raw material of the words themselves to the many aspects of the poem in performance

    Nova Express

    Nova Express
    The Soft Machine introduced us to the conditions of a universe where endemic lusts of the mind and body pray upon men, hook them, and turn them into beasts. Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs’s nightmarish futuristic tale one step further. The diabolical Nova Criminals—Sammy The Butcher, Green Tony, Iron Claws, The Brown Artist, Jacky Blue Note, Izzy The Push, to name only a few—have gained control and plan on wreaking untold destruction. It’s up to Inspector Lee of the Nova Police to attack and dismantle the word and imagery machine of these “control addicts” before it’s too late. This surrealist novel is part sci-fi, part Swiftian parody, and always pure Burroughs.

    The Soft Machine

    The Soft Machine
    In Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs revealed his genius. In The Soft Machine he begins an adventure that will take us even further into the dark recesses of his imagination, a region where nothing is sacred, nothing taboo. Continuing his ferocious verbal assault on hatred, hype, poverty, war, bureaucracy, and addiction in all its forms, Burroughs gives us a surreal space odyssey through the wounded galaxies in a book only he could create.

    The Ticket That Exploded

    The Ticket That Exploded
    In The Ticket That Exploded, William S. Burroughs’s grand “cut-up” trilogy that starts with The Soft Machine and continues through Nova Express reaches its climax as inspector Lee and the Nova Police engage the Nova Mob in a decisive battle for the planet. Only Burroughs could make such a nightmare vision of scientists and combat troops, of ad men and con men whose deceitful language has spread like an incurable disease be at once so frightening and so enthralling.

  • Queer

    Queer
    25th-Anniversary Edition
    The definitive 25th-anniversay edition of Burroughs's legendary second novel. Originally written in 1952 but not published till 1985, Queer is an enigma-both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch. Set in Mexico City during the early fifties, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene. As Lee breaks down, the trademark Burroughsian voice emerges, a maniacal mix of self- lacerating humor and the ugly American at his ugliest. A haunting tale of possession and exorcism, Queer is also a novel with a history of secrets, as this new edition reveals.

    The Cat Inside

    The Cat Inside
    Best known for the wild, phantasmagoric satire of works like Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs reveals another, gentler side in The Cat Inside. Originally published as a limited-edition volume, this moving and witty discourse on cats combines deadpan routines and dream passages with a heartwarming account of Burroughs's unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known. It is also a meditation on the long, mysterious relationship between cats and their human hosts, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptian cult of the "animal other." With its street sense and whiplash prose, The Cat Inside is a genuine revelation for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.

    Exterminator!

    Exterminator!
    Conspirators plot to explode a train carrying nerve gas. A perfect servant suddenly reveals himself to be the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Science-fantasy wars, racism, corporate capitalism, drug addiction, and various medical and psychiatric horrors all play their parts in this mosaiclike, experimental novel. Here is William S. Burroughs at his coruscating and hilarious best.

    The Letters of William S. Burroughs

    The Letters of William S. Burroughs
    Volume I: 1945-1959
    This volume of correspondence vividly documents the personal and cultural history through which Burroughs developed, revealing clues to illuminate his life and keys to open up his text. "Sheds light on both the personal demons and lacerating misanthropy that inspired Burroughs' brilliant literary highjinks".-- Entertainment Weekly.

  • Word Virus

    Word Virus
    The William S. Burroughs Reader
    With the publication of Naked Lunch in 1959, William Burroughs abruptly brought international letters into the postmodern age. Beginning with his very early writing (including a chapter from his and Jack Kerouac's never-before-seen collaborative novel), Word Virus follows the arc of Burroughs's remarkable career, from his darkly hilarious "routines" to the experimental cut-up novels to Cities of the Red Night and The Cat Inside. Beautifully edited and complemented by James Grauerholz's illuminating biographical essays, Word Virus charts Burroughs's major themes and places the work in the context of the life. It is an excellent tool for the scholar and a delight for the general reader. Throughout a career that spanned half of the twentieth century, William S. Burroughs managed continually to be a visionary among writers. When he died in 1997, the world of letters lost its most elegant outsider.

    Speed and Kentucky Ham

    Speed and Kentucky Ham
    Two Novels

    Sidetripping

    Sidetripping
    A first hand account of '60s and '70s counterculture seen through the eyes of pioneering photographer Charles Gatewood and legendary scribe William S. Burroughs. Chronicling the grotesque, surreal, and liberated American underground, Gatewood and Burroughs created a lasting, disturbing, and engaging portrait of this tumultuous period in American culture.

    The Wild Boys

    The Wild Boys
    A Book of the Dead
    The Wild Boys is a futuristic tale of global warfare in which a guerrilla gang of boys dedicated to freedom battles the organized armies of repressive police states. Making full use of his inimitable humor, wild imagination, and style, Burroughs creates a world that is as terrifying as it is fascinating.

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