Call Me Burroughs

Call Me Burroughs

A Life

Book - 2013 | First edition
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"Fifty years ago, Norman Mailer asserted, "William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." Few since have taken such literary risks, developed such individual political or spiritual ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media. Burroughs wrote novels, memoirs, technical manuals, and poetry. He painted, made collages, took thousands of photographs, produced hundreds of hours of experimental recordings, acted in movies, and recorded more CDs than most rock bands. Burroughs was the original cult figure of the Beat Movement, and with the publication of his novel Naked Lunch, which was originally banned for obscenity, he became a guru to the 60s youth counterculture. In Call me Burroughs, biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles presents the first full-length biography of Burroughs to be published in a quarter century-and the first one to chronicle the last decade of Burroughs's life and examine his long-term cultural legacy. Written with the full support of the Burroughs estate and drawing from countless interviews with figures like Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Burroughs himself, Call me Burroughs is a rigorously researched biography that finally gets to the heart of its notoriously mercurial subject."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Twelve, ©2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455511952
Branch Call Number: 813.54092 BUR 2013
Characteristics: xviii, 718 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Mar 15, 2016

This is the definitive biography of William S. Burroughs. I have read Ted Morgan's Literary Outlaw as well and that one is fine too but Call Me Burroughs, written after Burroughs had passed away into the Western Lands covers many parts of his life in more detail than the Morgan bio does. This is especially true of the last fifteen years or so of Burroughs' life when he moved to Kansas and took up shotgun painting. Here you can read about the story of how Burroughs ended up as one of the figures on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album as well as the Rolling Stones unsuccessful attempt to draw him into their circle of friends. Burroughs was a truly strange and original character and a very creative artist. There really isn't anyone else like him.

Aug 27, 2014

Exterminate all rational thought.
The late Lou Reed, in one of his combative moods, said something like "My week beats your year." Well, William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), one of Reed's many literary influences, lived days that beat many people's decades. Born into an affluent St. Louis family, Burroughs's adventures are almost inseparable from his formidable body of work. Even those who haven't read his epochal "Naked Lunch" know about his long heroin addiction, his homosexuality, his association with the Beats, and, of course, the infamous wife shooting incident. Barry Miles puts together a well-researched, balanced, and fascinating account of Burroughs's life and work and is unafraid to go into the darker corners of his life. What emerges is a complex portrait of a difficult and complicated man, who was perhaps the most radical American writer of the 20th century, one whose influence cuts across genres, finding its way into film (Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch"), and music (Joy Division, Steely Dan), as well as literature (Ballard in particular). Essential reading. Possible tagline: "Come for the transgressive sex, stay because you overdosed on heroin."

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