Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S.Burroughs

Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S.Burroughs

Ted Morgan

Language: English

Pages: 659

ISBN: 0805009019

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Almost indecently readable . . . captures [Burroughs’s] destructive energy, his ferocious pessimism, and the renegade brilliance of his style.”―Vogue

With a new preface as well as a final chapter on William S. Burroughs’s last years, the acclaimed Literary Outlaw is the only existing full biography of an extraordinary figure. Anarchist, heroin addict, alcoholic, and brilliant writer, Burroughs was the patron saint of the Beats. His avant-garde masterpiece Naked Lunch shook up the literary world with its graphic descriptions of drug abuse and illicit sex―and resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling on obscenity. Burroughs continued to revolutionize literature with novels like The Soft Machine and to shock with the events in his life, such as the accidental shooting of his wife, which haunted him until his death. Ted Morgan captures the man, his work, and his friends―Allen Ginsberg and Paul Bowles among them―in this riveting story of an iconoclast. 18 photographs

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went to the bullfights, and to Lola’s bar, and to the Mexican ballet, and took some peyote together, which launched Burroughs into a monologue about being a prisoner: “Ah, I feel awful, I feel worse than if I was suddenly a prisoner on the high Andes.” Jack connected with two women, one a big-breasted American, the other a splendid Mexican whore, and began writing his new novel, Dr. Sax, a character partly based on Burroughs. Then a friend of Jack’s arrived, Slim Simon, the bass player, known as

instance, that Allen continued to see girls. Burroughs felt more keenly than ever his inability to have a successful love relationship. It had not worked out with Allerton because he was straight, and now it was not working with Allen, even though Allen was homosexual. Allen was trying to think of a way to wind it all down without rejecting Burroughs. One day they went out for a walk and Burroughs was chiding him for his lack of response, and all the frustration that Allen had been storing

Gregory was doing it to shock him. He was even more annoyed when they went for a walk, and while they were standing in a portal, a woman came up and started taking pictures. Michaux thought he had been set up to have his picture snapped with the brash Americans, but then the woman said, “Will you people please move aside so I can photograph this historic portal,” and Michaux apologized for his unwarranted brusqueness. It was easy to be suspicious of Allen and Gregory, however, for in Paris,

letter and urged him to ask for $10,000 instead of $5,000. Alfred Chester went to see Jane Bowles, who, as he explained his scheme, kept saying, “But Alfred, I love you.” “Don’t talk to me about love,” he said, “I want the $10,000 and I want it in unmarked bills.” Getting nowhere, Chester went to see the American consul and said, “Paul Bowles is trying to assassinate me through Moroccans.” The next thing Paul knew he was summoned before the consul, a man named Schultz, who said: “You must

in one sentence, he said, in the story about the man who ran an alligator farm, “but there was no security in the alligators.” A recognizable style, however, was not necessarily good writing—look at Dryden, who had written the most breathtaking conceit in the English language when he commented on Lord Hasting’s smallpox: “Each little pimple had a tear in it to wail the fault its rising did commit.” The next evening Burroughs had dinner at the home of Anne Waldman and her poet husband, Reed Bye.

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