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The Adding Machine: Selected Essays

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Acclaimed by Norman Mailer more than twenty years ago as "possibly the only American writer of genius," William S. Burroughs has produced a body of work unique in our time. In these scintillating essays, he writes wittily and wisely about himself, his interests, his influences, his friends and foes. He offers candid and not always flattering assessments of such diverse writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Proust. ...
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The Adding Machine

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Overview

Acclaimed by Norman Mailer more than twenty years ago as "possibly the only American writer of genius," William S. Burroughs has produced a body of work unique in our time. In these scintillating essays, he writes wittily and wisely about himself, his interests, his influences, his friends and foes. He offers candid and not always flattering assessments of such diverse writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Proust. He ruminates on science and the often dubious paths into which it seems intent on leading us, whether into outer or inner space.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First published in England, this miscellany is neither bizarre nor outrageous nor prurient. It is instead insightful, informed and consistently interesting. These 42 short pieces include autobiographical sketches, literary criticism, political commentary, sage advice (from how to unite the planet to how to stop smoking) and far-out fantasy. The humor ranges from the grimly ironic to the ludicrous, expressed in an artless style without jargon, though Burroughs cavils about publishers, certainly every writer's duty. His distinctive voice reveals that the unashamed bad boy still has something sensible to say about what it is that makes us think he is bad. For all who appreciate a new brand of common sense. (April 30)
Library Journal
This collection, containing both fiction and nonfiction, is representative of Burroughs's work. The style and tone are vintage Burroughs; the themes of addiction, mind control, and homosexuality central to the novels are explored here more succinctly. The most original material consists of comments on writing and writers: perceptive remarks on Hemingway and Fitzgerald, an interesting comparison of Proust and Beckett, and an acknowledgment of Conrad's influence on a portion of Naked Lunch. Although occasionally marred by repetition, these pieces provide useful insight into the writer's philosophical and artistic concerns. Recommended for serious collections in contemporary literature. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559702102
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/15/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

A wanderer and a literary experimentalist, William S. Burroughs is the Beat writer who outlived most of his contemporaries to become the literary symbol of a dispossessed, rock n' roll mentality. His rollercoaster existence made for good semifictional reading, but he also innovated the narrative form with his fragmentary, brash style.

Biography

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) -- guru of the Beat Generation, controversial éminence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet, and blackest of black humor satirists -- had a range of influence rivaled by few post-World War II writers. His many books include Naked Lunch, Queer, Exterminator!, The Cat Inside, The Western Lands, and Interzone.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2001

    bit of a let down

    i am a huge fan of the beats, but i was dissapointed in burroughs' collection of essays. most were dull, some confusing, and none of them really stayed on topic, which would be fine, except the topic was more interesting than the side trips he took. the kerouac essay is essential for anyone who is or likes the beats. it alone makes the book worth the price. and it's good to read after you've read the better beat texts.

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