This is a “fan page” for William S. Burroughs. It contains a brief description followed by a series of links for anyone interested in William S. Burroughs, his sordid life, or his prolific writings. This page was created to help remedy the fact that Google’s search for the Author’s name provides, first of all, a website that is not, by it own admission “comprehensive or very up to date ”
he was an American novelist, essayist, social critic and spoken word performer. Much of Burroughs’ work is semi-autobiographical drawn from his experiences as an opiate addict. But he often distorts his experiences using surreal or graphic imagery, experimental structures, and a strong satirical voice.
His early writing is often associated with the Beat Generation. Burroughs was close friends with beat authors Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and Herbert Huncke, but Burroughs’ influence extends beyond this movement and even literature in general. His work has been influential to several subsequent counterculture literary, music and art movements
Burroughs’s work has been quite controversial, especially during his lifetime. His most famous novel Naked Lunch was the subject of a landmark 1966 Massachusetts Supreme Court case that loosened obscenity laws to allow for artistic merit.
Burroughs produced a sizable amount of literature in over forty years of international publication. He was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1983.
The entire catalog of books written by William S. Burroughs is dotted with several popular books, some less popular books, some (arguably) worthless books, and so perhaps it could be said that he wrote something for everyone. Perhaps not.
If you’re reading this, then surely you are at least intrigued, and so what follows is a sort of “greatest hits” list.
William S. Burroughs is known for his equal proficiency in print and with the spoken word, and he had a particualrly excellent speaking voice. No list of his works would be complete without reference to recordings of his verbal performances.
more to come…
The Internet provides a wealth of material devoted to the subject of William S. Burroughs. There is a variety of stuff out there, so this list concentrates on primary sources, texts and recordings by the author.
This homepage was prepared in 1998 as a supplement to the real world traveling exhibition “Call Me Burroughs”. The most notable materials here are two “uncollected” writings: Apocalypse, and A Thanksgiving Prayer.
These reside among the nearly thirty texts by William S. Burroughs: novel exerpts, essays, and interviews. The William S. Burroughs Homepage is a good place for an introduction to the author’s work.
Disinformation’s Revolutionary Dossier focuses on William S. Burroughs‘ more incendiary political ideas. It provides links.
Gentleman junkie, world traveler, anti-authoritarian, and visionary author of the nightmarish masterpiece Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs was America’s renegade man of letters.
Post-Script: Digitized Cut-up Method
Along the way I have found some interesting electronic versions of Burroughs’ notable “cut up method”
I found a site, “a snow of butterfiles” which a strange compendium of interesting design. Two notable features were the textblender and the wordbox both of which allow for an interesting, computer-mediated way to play with an assortment of words. It doesn’t produce anything with very much literary value, but it sure is fun.