Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs [NOOK Book]

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 ...

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

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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.

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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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393343243
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/23/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 878,743
  • File size: 4 MB

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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Table of Contents

Note On Method vii

Preface ix

Prologue: The Induction: 1983 1

1 St. Louis: 1914-1931 15

2 Los Alamos: 1929-1932 45

3 Cambridge: 1932-1938 60

4 New York: 1939-1941 74

5 Chicago and New York: 1942-1944 88

6 "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks": 1944 105

7 Junk: 1945-1946 120

8 Texas: 1947-1948 144

9 Louisiana: 1948-1949 163

10 Mexico: 1949-1952 184

11 Colombia: 1953 230

12 Tangier: 1954-1958 250

13 Paris: 1958-1960 290

14 Naked Lunch: 1959-1966 348

15 Burroughs Meets Leary: 1960-1961 383

16 Burroughs at Large: 1962-1965 413

17 The London Years: 1966-1973 453

18 New York: 1974-1976 499

19 Billy: 1974-1981 526

20 The Bunker: 1976-1981 571

21 Lawrence: 1981-1988 607

22 The Final Years: 1988-1997 657

Acknowledgments and Sources 679

Notes 681

Index 691

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