William Burroughs (1 Viewer)

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postino

Do you think Burroughs "JUNKY" is good reading for a young person? However cool my method of discovering Bukowski was, discovering Burroughs was a fantastic story. I was over for an advisory supper, a freshman in high school, at my advisor's house. He was a hippy type, and living with another hippy type science teacher, probably bangin her. I was looking at their bookshelf and I saw Naked Lunch. I started reading it out loud to my advisory, not knowing what it was.

"I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper..."

Thena girl started giggling and I put the book back on the shelf, and tried to forget those first lines.

I ended up reading it, and never thought much of it, until I read an excerpt from Junky. Burroughs was a professional anthropology writer when he wrote it, so it could be considered junky anthropology. But it could be considered a pass at the darker side of human nature, appealing to our sinister instincts. What do you think? Valuable piece of anthropology or twisted pornography, and do you care either way?
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
naked lunch is one of my favorite books. through that, i got really into burroughs, and i bought a bunch of his other books, but i never got around to reading them. i've read naked lunch a few times, though, as well as some of the excerpts of the stuff that was cut out when the other beat guys (bryon gysin and ginsberg maybe?) edited his manuscripts to produce naked lunch. i think it's tough to deny that NL is much more than simple pornography or obscenity. i read junky before that, and it was good, but NL is really a high point of 20th century literature, in my opinion. i don't care for much of the other beat stuff.
 

Petey

RIP
For me " Naked Lunch " was one of the worst books i ever read in my life.
I forced myself to read it til the end it was just a pain and wasting time in my guess today. I also tried " Beat Hotel " by Harold Norse but the effect was the same just boring. The cut up style is really not my cup of tea.
 

ROC

It is what it is
naked lunch is one of my favorite books... i think it's tough to deny that NL is much more than simple pornography or obscenity... NL is really a high point of 20th century literature, in my opinion.

I'm not sure I follow.
It's a 20C literature high point... yet simple porn or obscenity?

I've never read it... so... help. :confused:
 

justine

stop the penistry
he means 'you can't deny that NL is more than porn/obscenity'.

man, not only do i have to explain other people's posts to jordan - now i have to explain jordan's posts to other people! ;)
 

Domator

Founding member
I like Burroughs. He is my favorite writer from Beat Generation.
I read only four his books:
- Junky
- Queer
- Naked lunch
- Ghost of Chance

And in my opinion Junky is 10/10, Naked lunch 8/10, Queer 2/10, Ghost 6/10.
Naked lunch was published by Olympia Press. They also published Lolita and Tropic of cancer. Funny that those books was banned in USA too :) So they like books with some kinds obscenity.
For me Lunch was one of the highest points of American literature of 20 century, it's more important book than Junky, but for me a little worser.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i was having a major dyslexic moment when i typed that. i sat there for a good 30 seconds, but i didn't follow my rule of always writing the opposite of what i come up with in those situations.

thanks rubyred.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Junky is a good read. Queer is boring, N. Lunch has some weird but funny chapters, like the one about Dr. Benway. Interzone is also a good read. It's straight narrative like Junky. The Letters Of William S. Burroughs edited by Oliver Harris is a goldmine of interesting letters.
 
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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Right! That's a funny one! - "God bless America for, Kill A Queer For Christ, bumper stickers" :D - Burroughs is reading it on the cd "Dead Fingers Talk". Another good Burroughs cd is "Spare Ass Annie"...
 
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Naked Lunch was once a favorite of mine at one time but now I think Junky is a better book. I read Interzone, by recommendation of Bukfan, and enjoyed that, too.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Right! I too prefer Junky over Naked lunch! Junky is Burroughs best book imo.
I'm glad you liked Interzone, slimedog! It has some good short stories, one of them being The Junky's Christmas...
 
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P

postino

I'm finished with Junky and starting with Thompson. I was a little turned off by all the filth he was talking about in that book, but it was a very high quality read. It didn't leave me feeling quite as messed up as Naked Lunch did. But it did leave me burning with poetry a little bit. what is the feeling here about starting a thread where you can publish your own poetry?
 
I found Buroughs through Kerouac. I found Kerouac through a friend who lent me some of my first Bukowski books... anyway, I read Junky first. Because my girlfriend is an ex-heroin addict and was married to a girl shortly before I met her and the only books I've ever found her reading were books about recovery, heroin diaries etc... I wanted to bring something of my bookshelf into her world. I loved Junky, I mean it inspired me, inspired me to the point where I found myself about to put the needle in my arm (drunk) if it weren't for the fact of the guy not having an extra needle... (mind you this wasn't even 4 days after I finished it) He had the Junk but not a needle. I decided to pass trying it without . Naked Lunch, I'm halfway through (I can't even believe it) and I'd rather not try to put in words what I've found of it, what it's about or even why I continue reading. You know, I don't know what it's about. But it is awesome at some points and completely horrid at most. This thread has helped with understanding it... besides I was warned in the Introduction to Junk of Naked Lunch as to being hard to follow. I decided to take a stab at it. now here I find myself ferociously stabbing in a dim litted near dark basement at, may I say bad book?


Interzone was a very good excerpt! one of the couple I actually read throughout, clearly(?) not understanding, but digging!!
 
Hey guys ! I've been out for a while (lots of work on my hand as of late) so excuse me for my ongoing silence, which is hereby broken !

So last night I stumbled across a documentary on Burroughs (which surprised me a lot knowing all the sh*t we're shown on TV but I digress ...). The truth is, I didn't and still don't, know much about the guy. I've only read Naked Lunch and Junkie. And aside from some "facts" that were completely full of crap the whole thing was interesting. So basically my post boils down to this : I'd like to learn more about him so what stuff (books or anything) would you guys advise me to read/see ? Also just out of curiosity what piece is your favorite and why ?


On a completely different note, I'd like to make the most of this post (and I'm writing rhymes) (sorry about that). I recently learnt that I've been selected for a job in Aberdeen Scotland next year, so I wanted to know if there were any Aberdonian (if I'm not mistaking, and if I am I apologize) who would be willing to inform me of places to go (NB : I like food and books) and such things.

Thanks a lot !
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Who cares about Burroughs! **
I am trying really hard and failing at not writing hooray!! that's great news about you coming to Scotland.
I'm not an Aberdonian, nearest I lived to it was Perth, for about 6 months, which is about 45mins drive further south.

But I have been to it a few times, it's a lovely, small city, easy for walking and plenty of pubs, some good ones with live music. Having 2 universities there is enough going on for what I'm guessing here is your age range. You like food and books? - you'll be fine - it has both:) The books you can get free at the lovely Central Library, you might have to pay for the food though.Not a large amount of book shops, there is a Waterstones general chainstore type.(a nice second hand one called Old Aberdeen Bookshop.
So welcome a year or so in advance. :D

**Probably lots of people care about Burroughs :)

Posted these for you and ps only drawback they really talk a bit weird up there - that accent - geez.:wb:
http://www.visitaberdeen.com/food-and-drink/bars/list
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/aberdeen_nightlife
 
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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Junkie and Naked Lunch are probably Burroughs most famous books (New York Times have Naked Lunch on a list of the 100 best books of the 20th century) so you´ve already read two of the best books he has to offer. Another good one is Interzone which is a collection of short stories and journals and among them are the story, The Junky's Christmas, which were made into an animated film (I believe it's on Youtube). All the stories are written in straight narrative (no "cut-up" stories).

There's also a book containing the letters he wrote to various people (like Ginsberg, Kerouac, etc.) between 1945 and 1959 which is quite interesting. The title is called, The Letters Of William S. Burroughs 1945-59, edited by Oliver Harris who also provides a long and interesting foreword. It contains many letters about the writing of Junkie and Naked Lunch. It was later followed up by a second book of letters dating from 1959-1974 which I found not quite as interesting as the first one.
 
You like food and books? - you'll be fine - it has both:) The books you can get free at the lovely Central Library, you might have to pay for the food though.Not a large amount of book shops, there is a Waterstones general chainstore type.(a nice second hand one called Old Aberdeen Bookshop.
So welcome a year or so in advance.
Thanks a lot for all of this Skygazer, it's mucho appreciado ! I think I already had stumbled across the studentroom link but thanks anyway. At least there's a Waterstones, that's a good point (believe it or not it's quite hard to find books that are not written in French around here ...). I guess I'm going to take a couple of days when I'm done with my work and go there just to visit and whatnot. Oh, and thanks for the heads up about the accent too ! They will probably have a hard time understand me and my own special accent !
Another good one is Interzone which is a collection of short stories and journals and among them are the story, The Junky's Christmas, which were made into an animated film (I believe it's on Youtube). All the stories are written in straight narrative (no "cut-up" stories).

There's also a book containing the letters he wrote to various people (like Ginsberg, Kerouac, etc.) between 1945 and 1959 which is quite interesting. The title is called, The Letters Of William S. Burroughs 1945-59, edited by Oliver Harris who also provides a long and interesting foreword. It contains many letters about the writing of Junkie and Naked Lunch. It was later followed up by a second book of letters dating from 1959-1974 which I found not quite as interesting as the first one.
I liked the Red Night trilogy a lot.
Hey thanks a lot to you two ! I'm going to check all of this. I think that I'm going to start with Interzone, the short story is the writing "form" which I tend to enjoy the more so ...
 
I recently learnt that I've been selected for a job in Aberdeen Scotland next year, so I wanted to know if there were any Aberdonian (if I'm not mistaking, and if I am I apologize) who would be willing to inform me of places to go (NB : I like food and books) and such things.
Hosh who posts on here spent some time studying in Aberdeen as it happens. He's a nice fella so I'm sure he won't mind giving you a few tips about the area.
 
[...] I couldn't finish Naked lunch [...]
you don't need to: "You can cut into The Naked Lunch at any intersection point" (WSB)
this goes for dropping out as well.

it's intended to be read in fractions and fragments and smithereens. Cover-to-cover-reading doesn't do this book any good.
 
Hosh who posts on here spent some time studying in Aberdeen as it happens. He's a nice fella so I'm sure he won't mind giving you a few tips about the area.
Alright that's good to know, merci !

Junky was alright. I couldn't finish Naked lunch, although parts were interesting.
Ahah ! You know what ? I actually didn't enjoy the reading the very first time (and I was quite disappointed by that, since I had read the horrible French translation before that and hoped the original would be more appealing). I picked it up again later when I heard about Brion Gysin, the cut-up and whatnot.
 
victor_bockris.with_william_burroughs.200.jpg


I enjoyed this. Dinner conversations with celebrities at his NYC apartment in the 70s.

kentucky-ham.jpg


His son writes about visiting him and Gysin (??) in Tangiers. Good stuff. When Burroughs Jr. arrives, Inspector Lee has his friend pick him up a fat sack of hash and a pipe. The young Burroughs talks about coming home late one night high as a kite with an apple pie and rotisserie chicken. Burroughs Sr. and his partner stop him cold in his tracks and by the time he gets to the bedroom, all that is left of his chicken and pie are scraps.

Burroughs Jr. also mentions watching his dad sit in his orgone chamber in silence for minutes/hours and all of a sudden, Inspector Lee would emerge from the orgone chamber, sprint to the typewriter, start hammering away at the keys and laugh his ass off.

Definitely good stuff.
 
Anybody picked this up yet or plan to?

call-me-burroughs-a-life-240.jpg

I read Literary Outlaw back in 2001. I was heavy into Burroughs at the time and devoured every bit of information I could get on him. I'm currently in a major reading rut. Maybe this is the way to get out of it? But I have a Bukowski bio written by Miles that I thought was total shit.

This is the other bio in case the OP wants to check it out...

849070.jpg
 
there's this nice one from Germany with lots of pictures edited by Carl Weissner in the mid 90s:

53794544.jpg


I'll try to remember to bring it into the office and do some scans for you cats.

p.s.:
[...] But I have a Bukowski bio written by Miles that I thought was total shit. [...]
seems, you and I are the only persons on the planet thinking this way about it.
 
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hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
I didn't think the Miles bio was well received here. I couldn't get past the first 20 pages.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Right, it was´nt well received here. I did´nt like it either. I remember making a post mentioning the fuck up's Miles made. It does´nt even come close to the Sounes bio, far from it.
 

mjp

Founding member
Miles is a biography machine. Seems like he cranks out a new bio every eighteen months. I don't think you can compare him to someone like Sounes who spent so much time researching Bukowski's life.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
He sure wrote a bunch of biographies. This new Burroughs biography of his has gotten great reviews so maybe he's finally written a biography above average.
I´ve got his Frank Zappa biography and it only got so-so reviews. I wonder if his authorized Paul McCartney biography is a good read.
 
Linda Bukowski once told me, that she thinks Miles' Buk-bio is the best of them all. (that was in 2010 i.e. pre-David-Calonne.)
 
I've read the Sounes, Chervoski, and Calonne ones but I've never heard of this Buk bio written by Miles, is it worth buying it ?
 

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