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Authors  William S. Burroughs
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William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs

"My trouble began when they decide I am executive timber", William S. Burroughs was born in 1914, in St. Louis, Missouri, into the family that cloned the adding machine, though he soon escaped the birthplace of T. S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams working as a private detective, exterminator, bartender and panhandler of The Naked Lunch. "The only complete man in the industry", he wised up the marks with a set of characters that would make the Nova mob look as sincere as any administration.

"Listen to my last words anywhere. Listen to my last words any world. Listen all you boards syndicates and governments of the earth. And you powers behind what filth deals consummated in what lavatory to take what is not yours. To sell the ground from unborn feet forever -"

For Burroughs, selling was more of a habit than using. The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded and Nova Express explore the addiction of power, a cut-up of unspeakable hordes flickering in and out "as the soccer scores come in from the capital".

In the early sixties, Burroughs collaborated with the painter Brion Gysin on Minutes To Go and later The Third Mind, further distancing himself from the Beat Generation. The Last Words of Dutch Schultz and darkly prophetic The Wild Boys are the endgames of his twenty-year exile which took in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris and London. Cities of the Red Night, Ah Pook Is Here, The Western Lands and The Cat Inside were published after his return to the states.

"So pack your ermines, Mary - We are getting out of here right now - I've seen this happen before - The marks are coming up on us - And the heat is moving in - "

If Fitzgerald epitomized the Jazz Age, Burroughs delivered the Space Age. Norman Mailer called him "the only American novelist who may conceivably be possessed by genius", and Jack Kerouac said he was "the greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift".

William S. Burroughs died in 1997 in Lawrence, Kansas.

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