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Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
     

Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs

by Ted Morgan
 

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“Almost indecently readable . . . captures [Burroughs’s] destructive energy, his ferocious pessimism, and the renegade brilliance of his style.”—Vogue

With a new preface as well as a final chapter on William S. Burroughs’s last years, the acclaimed Literary Outlaw is the only existing full biography of an

Overview

“Almost indecently readable . . . captures [Burroughs’s] destructive energy, his ferocious pessimism, and the renegade brilliance of his style.”—Vogue

With a new preface as well as a final chapter on William S. Burroughs’s last years, the acclaimed Literary Outlaw is the only existing full biography of an extraordinary figure. Anarchist, heroin addict, alcoholic, and brilliant writer, Burroughs was the patron saint of the Beats. His avant-garde masterpiece Naked Lunch shook up the literary world with its graphic descriptions of drug abuse and illicit sex—and resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling on obscenity. Burroughs continued to revolutionize literature with novels like The Soft Machine and to shock with the events in his life, such as the accidental shooting of his wife, which haunted him until his death. Ted Morgan captures the man, his work, and his friends—Allen Ginsberg and Paul Bowles among them—in this riveting story of an iconoclast.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his detailed, highly readable biography, Morgan provides important insights into Burroughs's life and art. He sees the writer as an outlaw, as someone bent on achieving fame even at the cost of becoming infamous. Morgan closely examines Burroughs's life in light of his relationships with family, lovers, and friends, including fellow Beats Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. In fact, if the book has a fault, it is that in its coverage of other Beat figures, the focus occasionally slips off Burroughs. While not a definitive portrait, Morgan's book is an accurate and serviceable biography of one of America's foremost authors. Essential reading for anyone interested in Burroughs, it belongs in all serious literature collections. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
J.G. Ballard
Reading Ted Morgan's rich and authoritative biography, one constantly feels that Burroughs' fiction, however extreme, is a milder version of his life.
Washington Post
“Triumphant. . . . Unsparingly naturalistic reporting at its best.”
Paul Theroux
“I was captivated. . . . Funny. . . exhaustive . . . clear-sighted.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393343243
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/23/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
768
Sales rank:
830,059
File size:
4 MB

What People are Saying About This

Paul Theroux
I was captivated. . . . Funny. . . exhaustive . . . clear-sighted.

Meet the Author

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ted Morgan is the author of Maugham and FDR; his latest book is Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam War. He lives in New York.

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