Call Me Burroughs: A Life

Call Me Burroughs: A Life

Language: English

Pages: 736

ISBN: 1455511951

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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ancestry he identified “real uncut boy stuff,” the essence of adolescent naturalism, fertility, and masculinity. Kiki fit the bill. As Burroughs wrote in “Lee and the Boys,” “Lee was well pleased with Kiki.” Bill did not like the process of looking for boys; he was not compulsively promiscuous and did not lose interest in his boys. He had sex with Angelo in Mexico City twice a week for more than a year, and now that he had found Kiki, he was content to stay with him. It was in many ways a

quarter pound finely chopped walnuts, one ounce caraway seeds, one ounce aniseed, one pound honey, ground cinnamon, and half a ground nutmeg. (Two or three of these flavoring ingredients were usually left out.)27 Mix together and cook in a frying pan until it was a brown paste or became the “consistency of sticky shit,” as Ginsberg described it. Rolled in balls and popped into the mouth or spread on crackers, two spoonfuls would see you through the night. It had been more than three years since

producer of the show finally called Jack a drunken moron and ordered him off the set. Burroughs wasn’t surprised at the outcome; Jack had always been heading in that direction. When Lou Reed asked Burroughs why Kerouac had finished up in such bad shape, Bill said he hadn’t changed much. “He was always like that. First there was a young guy sitting in front of television in a tee-shirt drinking beer with his mother, then there was an older fatter person sitting in front of television in a

and played the host he was conscious of a great depression growing on him. He felt terrible, what he described as “a terrible fear of death.” Suddenly there was a loud bang, which later turned out to be the sound of a shotgun. A rejected suitor had shot his girlfriend in a bank just off nearby St. James’s Square, but it was not her death that he had an intimation of. He later learned that Kerouac had died in Florida on that day, at the same time (11:00 a.m. Florida time). “Listen, it’s better to

inordinately jealous. Bill wanted James to give up his job at the Gotham Book Mart and stay home and work for him. He had to accept the situation but asked James not to bring Richard around. There were some unpleasant outbursts and the situation provoked an anti-Semitic side to Burroughs that Grauerholz had not suspected because Bill was so close to Allen. James attributed it to his St. Louis background, encouraged by Gysin and Balch. James began to spend most nights with Richard at his apartment

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