by William S. Burroughs, Oliver Harris

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Set in Mexico City during the early 1950s, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene. As Lee breaks down, the trademark Burroughsian voice emerges, a maniacal mix of self-lacerating humor and the Ugly American at his ugliest.

Originally written in 1952 but not published until 1985, Queer is an enigma—both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch.

Edited from the original manuscripts and introduced by renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris, Queer is a haunting tale of possession and exorcism, a key to the Burroughsian oeuvre, and a novel with a history of secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623730031
Publisher: Odyssey Editions
Publication date: 11/13/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 613,012
File size: 964 KB

About the Author

William S. Burroughs was born to a wealthy family on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. After leaving home in 1932 to attend Harvard University, Burroughs became involved in the contemporary counterculture. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. A novelist, poet, essayist, painter, and spoken word poet, he was a major figure in the Beat Generation and a collaborator on countless projects and recordings with renowned artists and musicians. To escape the conditions of American culture, and in particular his experience as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1949 for Mexico City and various South American locales, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognized as one of the most culturally significant, politically incisive, and inventive artists of the Twentieth Century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died in 1997.
Oliver Harris is editor of The Letters of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959, Junky: The Definitive Text of 'Junk', The Yage Letters Redux, Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs, and Queer: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition. Professor fo American Literature at Keele University and President of the European Beat Studies Network, he is the author of the critical study William Burroughs adn teh Secret of Fascination. He is currently re-edtiing Burroughs's cut-up trilogy The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, Nova Express (forthcoming in 2014).

Date of Birth:

February 4, 1914

Date of Death:

August 2, 1997

Place of Birth:

St. Louis, Missouri

Place of Death:

Lawrence, Kansas


Los Alamos Ranch School; A.B., Harvard University, 1936; graduate study, 1938

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