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William Burroughs


American writer, painter, and experimental artist

William Seward Burroughs II , more commonly known as William S. Burroughs , pronounced / bʌroʊz / ( St. Louis , 5 February 1914 - Lawrence , 2 August 1997 ), was a writer and essayist U.S. , close to the movement of the beat generation .

Most of the works of Burroughs are semi-autobiographical, inspired by his experiences related to drug use and addiction to opiates , a condition that marked the last fifty years of his life. Linked to the beat generation , but far away, by his own admission ("I toss them flowers to the cops, but with all the pot and the earth." WSB) from the reality of beatniks or hippies, was an author of avant-garde culture that influenced and popular literature. In 1984 he was elected to the Academy and the American Institute of Arts and Letters.

Burroughs is often cited as a writer of Science Fiction by authors such as JG Ballard . Not the typical Sci-Fi spaceships and monsters, but a minor branch of the evolutionary environment that uses as novel space external to man, but the interior space, the human beings who, in the eyes "drugged" and visionary Burroughs, become mutants, cities that turn into metaphysical landscapes, the perception of occult forces, all of which are not be completely mistaken this location the style of William Burroughs.

"Black Sheep" of a wealthy family, well known in the world for the production of mechanical calculators (the grandfather of Burroughs invented the first adder writer), he graduated to ' Harvard University . After graduation, his parents decided to support it financially, in the hope that sooner or later transform that formidable school career in a professional commitment of prestige, and also because the remoteness of the gay son avoided many possible embarrassment for the name of Burroughs. Burroughs, freed from rules and taxation, he devoted the rest of his life to various experiments, but in rare lines scattered throughout his work, leaked the pain of failure affection of a family who first thought he was uncomfortable.

According to the "Junky" in 1944-45 he made ​​his first experiments with the vials of morphine , after a few months became addicted and began to buy morphine and heroin with prescriptions (at the time these drugs were sold legally in pharmacy ) or the black market. Sometimes to keep the drug did the robber and drug dealer.

Lost the support of family, William Burroughs worked first as a bartender, then as a laborer, until he came to New York where he improvised reporter and journalist, and ended with the close ties with the crime. In 1943 he met Allen Ginsberg , known poet of the beat generation , with whom he also had a long relationship, Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac , who admiring the genius, he was elected as a spiritual father.

"drugged gay black sheep of good family " - William Seward Burroughs

Despite his homosexuality, was married twice, the first in Croatia to Ilse Kappler, a Jewish girl, only to get her a visa to the United States, the second time with a friend, Joan Vollmer, with whom he shared passion for drugs. Joan decided to get away from New York to stop and Mexico City where he wrote his first novel Junky ( Junky ). The parenthesis Mexican ended, however, in tragedy in an attempt to replicate the feat of William Tell , fumbling a gun instead of a bow and arrow, shot and killed his wife, his son was taken from her, as well, given the parents of the Burroughs himself, as he embarked on a journey that led him to travel the length and breadth of the ' Latin America , until you reach the ' Africa and stop at Tangier , in Morocco .

" The most dangerous thing to do is stand still" - William Seward Burroughs

In Tangier was joined by Kerouac and Ginsberg, who found themselves inundated with leaves and scraps of paper, on which the writer noted disconnected thoughts and delusions. Kerouac convinced him to restructure, with the help of Ginsberg, and these writings came to light Naked Lunch ( Naked Lunch ), published only in 1958 , which made ​​him a celebrity.

After a period in Tangier, he moved to Europe , to Paris , where he began to live together and the relationship with Brion Gysin , a writer and painter, and continued research and development of other experiments of cut-up , which took origin from the texts The Soft Machine , The Ticket That Exploded , Nova Express . His literary work was completed in 1994 with My education: a book of dream , three years before his death at the age of 83 years, thus disproving those who had claimed as a young man that his life "dissolute" would led to a quick end.

Never economically abandoned by his family, who kept it for most of his life, he had always reports "friendly" with his mother, Laura Lee, who with his father and older brother Mortimer Mortimer II. He has never really worked, one of his jobs that lasted longer, ie six months, it was the "destroyer" that the exterminator. The family knew of his drug addiction and has always reluctantly tolerated. Around twenty-five years, amputated with scissors garden the last phalanx of the left little finger. Disappointment in love. In Paris Burroughs had an affair with Ian Sommerville .

His family had some failures: the actions of the Burroughs ended early in the pockets of socio grandfather. Laura Mortimer and had a small income and a store of gifts. Family, at most we can say, wealthy. He began writing Junky (Junkie), then signed with the pseudonym " William Lee "in the early fifties in Mexico. He sent the chapters of the book by mail to Ginsberg, who did publish a publisher's uncle Carl Salomon whom he had dedicated The Howl (The Scream), after meeting him during a stay in a psychiatric hospital.

So Jack Kerouac speaks of his friend William Burroughs (Old Bull Lee), in his masterpiece On the road : "It would take a whole night to tell of Old Bull Lee, for now let's just say that was a teacher, and rightly so, you can say, because he spent all his time learning, and the things I learned were those who considered and called "the facts of life", the learner not only for necessity, but by choice. That had dragged his body long and thin around the United States, and in most of Europe and North Africa, in his day, just to see what was going on, in the thirties had married a Russian countess in exile only to tear the Nazis.  It was all these things just to try them. Now he devoted himself to the study of addiction. He spent long hours with the books of Shakespeare in the womb, the "Immortal Bard," he called it. A New Orleans had begun to spend long hours in the company of Maya codices, and even when talking with friends held the book open on her lap. Once I said, "What will happen to us when we die?" And he replied: "When you die you die, that's all."  Bull had a sentimental weakness for America in the old days, especially the teens, when the country was wild, brawling and free, freedom of every kind in abundance for all. The thing I hated the most was the Washington bureaucracy, and immediately after were the progressives, then the police. He spent his time to speak and teach others. Jane sat at his feet, and I also, and also Dean ( Neal Cassady , ed), and in the past also Carlo Marx ( Allen Ginsberg , ed.) We all learned from him. "

He has participated as an actor in film Chappaqua of Conrad Rooks (1966), Decoder of Maeck Klaus (1984) and Drugstore Cowboy by Gus Van Sant (1989) and in the latter film he plays a former priest addict.

He participated in the video Last Night on Earth of U2 : in the final scene we see Burroughs who closes his eyes. A curiosity: the video was shot a few days before he was caught by the attack Burroughs heart that killed him.
The name of the psychedelic rock group " Thin White Rope "was inspired by a metaphor used by the writer to define the male semen.

The interest of William S. Burroughs for the Magic (especially the magic of chaos ) will cause the initiation in 1993 at the organization IOT ( Illuminates of Thanateros ), founded in 1978 by Ray Sherwin and Peter J. Carroll .


And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks , written with Jack Kerouac ( 1945 )
Junky ( 1953 )
Queer ( 1951st - the 1953rd )
Naked Lunch ( 1959 )
The soft machine ( 1961 )
The ticket that exploded ( 1962 )
Dead Fingers Talk ( 1963 )
Nova Express ( 1964 )
The Last Words of Dutch Schultz ( 1970 )
The Wild Boys ( 1971 )
Port of Saints ( 1973 )
The cities of the Red Night ( 1981 )
The Place of Dead Roads ( 1983 )
The Western Lands ( 1987 )
My Education: A Book of Dreams ( 1995 )
Stories [ edit ]
Valentine's Day Reading ( 1965 )
Time ( 1965 )
APO-33 ( 1966 )
The Dead Star ( 1969 )
Ali's Smile ( 1971 )
Mayfair Academy Series More or Less ( 1973 )
White Subway ( 1973 )
Exterminator! ( 1973 )
The Book of Breething ( 1974 )
Snack ... ( 1975 )
Cobble Stone Gardens ( 1976 )
Blade Runner (a movie) ( 1979 )
Dr. Benway ( 1979 )
Die Alten Filme ( 1979 )
Streets of Chance ( 1981 )
Early Routines ( 1981 )
Sinki's Sauna ( 1982 )
Ruski ( 1984 )
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ( 1984 )
The Cat Inside ( 1986 )
The Whole Tamale ( 1 987 - 1,988th )
Interzone ( 1987 )
Tornado Alley ( 1989 )
Ghost of Chance ( 1991 )
Seven Deadly Sins ( 1992 )
Paper Cloud; Thick Pages ( 1992 )


Roosevelt After Inauguration and Other Atrocities ( 1965 )
The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs ( 1969 )
Jack Kerouac ( 1970 )
The Electronic Revolution ( 1971 )
The Retreat Diaries ( 1976 )
Ali's Smile: Naked Scientology ( 1978 )
The Adding Machine: Collected Essays ( 1985 )

Letter From A Master Addict To Dangerous Drugs, British Journal of Addiction, Vol 53, No. 2, August 3rd, 1956 ( 1956 )
Letters to Allen Ginsberg ( one thousand nine hundred and fifty-three - 1957 )
The Burroughs File ( 1984 )
Uncommon Quotes Vol 1 ( 1989 )
Selected Letters ( 1993 )
Burroughs Live: The Collected Interviews of William S. Burroughs ( in 1960 - one thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven )
The Letters of William S. Burroughs ( the 1,945th - 1959 )
Word Virus: The William Burroughs Reader ( 1998 )

Language is a virus from outer space. -- William S. Burroughs

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