Burroughs and Ginsberg: Literary Heroes and Totally Gross Sex Predators - The Awl
Oct 21, The documentary includes rare footage of Burroughs and Ginsberg together The tempestuous relationship Burroughs had with his only child. With no partner to talk to, Burroughs resorted to writing letters to Allen Ginsberg. Their relationship slowly transcended from one of teacher and student to one of. Feb 3, This week marks the st anniversary of William S. Burroughs's birth. Along with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, Burroughs founded the.
Upon Burroughs' attorney fleeing Mexico in light of his own legal problems, Burroughs decided, according to Ted Morganto "skip" and return to the United States. He was convicted in absentia of homicide and was given a two-year suspended sentence. June 8,"Joan, what kind of knowledge have the dead? What do you remember of us? Ina re-edited version, The Yage Letters Redux, showed that the letters were largely fictionalised from Burroughs' notes.
Beginning of literary career[ edit ] Burroughs described Vollmer's death as a pivotal event in his life, and one which provoked his writing by exposing him to the risk of possession by a malevolent entity he called "the Ugly Spirit": I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan's death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing.
I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from Control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a life long struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.
I mean a definite possessing entity. The ugly American", and took part in a shamanic ceremony with the explicit aim of exorcising the Ugly Spirit.
In any case, he had begun to write in Years later, in the documentary What Happened to Kerouac? An excerpt of this work, in which Burroughs and Kerouac wrote alternating chapters, was finally published in Word Virus,  a compendium of William Burroughs' writing that was published by his biographer after his death in Before Vollmer died, Burroughs had largely completed his first novel, Junkiewhich was written at the urging of Allen Ginsbergwho was instrumental in getting the work published, even as a cheap mass-market paperback.
Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict it was later republished as Junkie, then in as Junky, and finally in as Junky: Due to legal problems, he was unable to live in the cities toward which he was most inclined. When Ginsberg refused his romantic advances,  Burroughs went to Rome to meet Alan Ansen on a vacation financed from his parents' continuing support.
When he found Rome and Ansen's company dreary, and inspired by Paul Bowles ' fiction, he decided to head for TangierMorocco. He realized that in the Moroccan culture he had found an environment that synchronized with his temperament and afforded no hindrances to pursuing his interests and indulging in his chosen activities.
He left for Tangier in November and spent the next four years there working on the fiction that would later become Naked Lunch, as well as attempting to write commercial articles about Tangier. He sent these writings to Ginsberg, his literary agent for Junkie, but none was published until when Interzone, a collection of short stories, was published. Under the strong influence of a marijuana confection known as majoun and a German-made opioid called EukodolBurroughs settled in to write.
Eventually, Ginsberg and Kerouac, who had traveled to Tangier inhelped Burroughs type, edit, and arrange these episodes into Naked Lunch.
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Naked Lunch Whereas Junkie and Queer were conventional in style, Naked Lunch was his first venture into a nonlinear style. After the publication of Naked Lunch, a book whose creation was to a certain extent the result of a series of contingencies, Burroughs was exposed to Brion Gysin 's cut-up technique at the Beat Hotel in Paris in October He began slicing up phrases and words to create new sentences.
Scenes were slid together with little care for narrative.
Sexuality in the Beat Generation | Queer Studies at SFC
Perhaps thinking of his crazed physician, Dr. Benway, he described Naked Lunch as a book that could be cut into at any point.
Although not considered science fictionthe book does seem to forecast AIDSliposuctionand the crack pandemic. The novel was initially rejected by City Lights Books, the publisher of Ginsberg's Howl ; and Olympia Press publisher Maurice Girodiaswho had published English-language novels in France that were controversial for their subjective views of sex and antisocial characters. Irving Rosenthalstudent editor of Chicago Review, a quarterly journal partially subsidized by the university, promised to publish more excerpts from Naked Lunch, but he was fired from his position in after Chicago Daily News columnist Jack Mabley called the first excerpt obscene.
Rosenthal went on to publish more in his newly created literary journal Big Table No. John Ciardi did get a copy and wrote a positive review of the work, prompting a telegram from Allen Ginsberg praising the review.
Once published in the United States, Naked Lunch was prosecuted as obscene by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, followed by other states. Inthe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared the work "not obscene" on the basis of criteria developed largely to defend the book. The case against Burroughs' novel still stands as the last obscenity trial against a work of literature—that is, a work consisting of words only, and not including illustrations or photographs—prosecuted in the United States.
These novels feature extensive use of the cut-up technique that influenced all of Burroughs' subsequent fiction to a degree. During Burroughs' friendship and artistic collaborations with Brion Gysin and Ian Sommervillethe technique was combined with images, Gysin's paintings, and sound, via Somerville's tape recorders.
The cut-up method, because of its random or mechanical basis for text generation, combined with the possibilities of mixing in text written by other writers, deemphasizes the traditional role of the writer as creator or originator of a string of words, while simultaneously exalting the importance of the writer's sensibility as an editor.
In this sense, the cut-up method may be considered as analogous to the collage method in the visual arts.
New restored editions of The Nova Trilogy or Cut-Up Trilogyedited by Oliver Harris President of the European Beat Studies Network and published inincluded notes and materials to reveal the care with which Burroughs used his methods and the complex histories of his manuscripts.
Paris and the "Beat Hotel"[ edit ] Burroughs moved into a rundown hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris in when Naked Lunch was still looking for a publisher. Tangierwith its political unrest, and criminals with whom he had become involved, became dangerous to Burroughs.
He left behind a criminal charge which eventually caught up with him in Paris. Paul Lund, a British former career criminal and cigarette smuggler whom Burroughs met in Tangier, was arrested on suspicion of importing narcotics into France. Lund gave up Burroughs, and evidence implicated Burroughs in the importation of narcotics into France. When the Moroccan authorities forwarded their investigation to French officials, Burroughs faced criminal charges in Paris for conspiracy to import opiates.
It was during this impending case that Maurice Girodias published Naked Lunch; its appearance helped to get Burroughs a suspended sentence, since a literary career, according to Ted Morgan, is a respected profession in France.
The " Beat Hotel " was a typical European-style boarding house hotel, with common toilets on every floor, and a small place for personal cooking in the room. Life there was documented by the photographer Harold Chapmanwho lived in the attic room. This shabby, inexpensive hotel was populated by Gregory CorsoGinsberg and Peter Orlovsky for several months after Naked Lunch first appeared.
Burroughs' time at the Beat Hotel was dominated by occult experiments — " mirror-gazingscryingtrance and telepathyall fuelled by a wide variety of mind-altering drugs". The actual process by which Naked Lunch was published was partly a function of its "cut-up" presentation to the printer.
Girodias had given Burroughs only ten days to prepare the manuscript for print galleys, and Burroughs sent over the manuscript in pieces, preparing the parts in no particular order. When it was published in this authentically random manner, Burroughs liked it better than the initial plan.
During this time Burroughs found an outlet for material otherwise rendered unpublishable in Jeff Nuttall 's My Own Mag. Dent, a well-known English medical doctor who spearheaded a reputedly painless heroin withdrawal treatment using the drug apomorphine. Burroughs however was convinced.
Following his first cure, he wrote a detailed appreciation of apomorphine and other cures, which he submitted to The British Journal of Addiction Vol. Though he ultimately relapsed, Burroughs ended up working out of London for six years, traveling back to the United States on several occasions, including one time escorting his son to the Lexington Narcotics Farm and Prison after the younger Burroughs had been convicted of prescription fraud in Florida.
In the "Afterword" to the compilation of his son's two previously published novels Speed and Kentucky Ham, Burroughs writes that he thought he had a "small habit" and left London quickly without any narcotics because he suspected the U. He claims he went through the most excruciating two months of opiate withdrawal while seeing his son through his trial and sentencing, traveling with Billy to Lexington, Kentucky from Miami to ensure that his son entered the hospital that he had once spent time in as a volunteer admission.
Louis, Missouri, taking a large advance from Playboy to write an article about his trip back to St. Louis, one that was eventually published in The Paris Reviewafter Burroughs refused to alter the style for Playboy's publishers. Southern and Burroughs, who had first become acquainted in London, would remain lifelong friends and collaborators.
Burroughs and Ginsberg: Literary Heroes and Totally Gross Sex Predators
InBurroughs and Southern unsuccessfully attempted to adapt Naked Lunch for the screen in conjunction with American game-show producer Chuck Barris. Lucien Carr Photo credit: Burroughs, who was the teacher at that time. Kammerer was leading a group of youth which Carr was a member, and quickly attracted to the teenage Carr.
Over the next few years Kammerer pursued Carr by following him to any school he attended, and Carr would later insist that he had been sexually hounding Carr with a predatory persistence that would today be considered stalking. Burroughs and their works were brought to obscenity trial.
One characteristic of the Beat literature works all share is that they are very personal, intimate and sometimes were written for designated audiences. Considering the intimate connection between his works and his life, and given the fact, it is no question that Ginsberg applied his homosexual identity and experiences in his works. It primarily talks about the main character Lee searching for homosexual encounter in South America, and ending up engaging himself in a relationship with a man named Allerton, a recently discharged American Navy serviceman, whose character is based on Adelbert Lewis Marker who Burroughs befriended during his residence in Mexico City.
Unlike his masculine aspects and dry, descriptive styles of writing, Lee, who is a surrogate for Burroughs himself, is a very timid and shy man with submissive attitude when it comes to the relationship with Allerton.
Been in our family for generations. The Lees have always been perverts. I shall never forget the unspeakable horror that froze the lymph in my glands—the lymph glands that is, of course—when the baneful word seared my reeling brain: I was a homosexual.
Could it be possible I was one of those subhuman things? I might well destroyed myself, ending an existence which seemed to offer nothing but grotesque misery and humiliation.
Nobler, I thought, to die a man than live on, a sex monster.
Wikipedia Unlike Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac never asserted that he was a homosexual nor he intended to set his sexual identity through his works. Still people question about his sexual identity by the characters surrounding him, including Neal Cassady and Gore Vidal.
Kerouac most of the time did not suggest regular homosexual encounters in his works, however it does appear in several occasions, which are mostly homosocial rather than homoerotic. Meantime, a shocking report on American Sexology appeared by Dr. This is recognized as the first post- World War II novel whose protagonist is openly gay but not killed at the end because of the social norms.
It received criticism for being printed in the age where homosexuality was considered immoral, and became a major scandal. In his biography Call Me Burroughs, Barry Miles describes Burroughs taking a page of text from a magazine, book or newspaper and cutting it into four. He would then move the four pieces around until an appealing phrase or sentence emerged from the connections between the pieces. He would type up the phrase, and the accumulation of such found phrases became its own text.
Burroughs called his discovery of the cut-up a 'major revelation', and The Soft Machine and several of his other novels make wide use of the technique. He spent hours staring at mirrors and crystals in order to experience visions and believed that soulmates could achieve perfect telepathy.
He also believed in demonic possession, and that he himself was possessed by an 'Ugly Spirit' who had invaded him the moment before he killed his wife, and took root in his soul.
Long before the internet forced us all to confront such problems, Burroughs knew that talking about cats 'tread[s] the very thin line between the mawkish and the sublime. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and went to school in New Mexico, to university at Harvard and, briefly, to medical school in Vienna.
He moved with his wife to Mexico City; after her death he settled for several years in Tangier, where he wrote Naked Lunch and took advantage of the relaxed drug laws.