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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

William S. Burroughs

b. February 5, 1914 
d. August 2, 1997

Novelist, born as William Seward Burroughs in St. Louis, Missouri. Heir to the Burroughs Adding Machine Company fortune. As a teenager, Burroughs was sent off to military school at Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he had his first same-sex encounters. He was educated at Harvard and Vienna universities.

Burroughs fell in love and became obsessed with Ginsberg, and they have remained lifelong friends. Following trouble with the law regarding his drug habits, Burroughs settled in Mexico City with his wife Joan. One night in 1951, after a few drinks, they were entertaining some friends with their "William Tell" routine. She put a whiskey glass on her head and he aimed a pistol at the glass. Although he was an expert marksman, the shot was low and Joan was killed instantly. Burroughs had to leave Mexico.

His sexual explicitness (he was an avowed and outspoken bisexual) and the frankness with which he dealt with his own experiences as a drug addict won him a following among writers of the Beat movement. With Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, he was one of the founding members of the Beat generation. He was known to be a lover of young boys and in his later years, he lived with his long-time companion James Grauerholtz.


Junkie: Confessions of an Unreedemed Drug Addict (1953)
Letters to Allen Ginsburg 1953-1957
The Naked Lunch (1959)
Nova Express (1960)
The Soft Machine (1961)
The Ticket that Exploded (1962)
Dead Fingers Talk (1963)
The Wild Boys (1971)
The Place of Dead Roads (1983)
Queer (1986)
The Western Lands (1987)

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