A Quick Rundown of Films

admin, 05 October 2016, No comments
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

William Seward Burroughs As a Legendary Artist

William Seward Burroughs, also called William Lee as his pen name, was an American novelist, satirist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer.

A key figure of the Beat Generation and an outstanding postmodernist author-master of the paranoid fiction genre, he is deemed to be one of the most politically scathing, culturally significant, and ingenious artists of the 20th century. His influence is said to have made a big impact on a stretch of popular culture along with literature. Burroughs completed six albums of short stories, eighteen novels and novellas, and four albums of essays. His interviews and correspondences have been printed in five books. He also teamed up on various projects with a lot of performers and musicians, including recordings, and made an appearance in a slew of films.

Born into an affluent family in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the grandson of William Seward Burroughs, the creator and founder of the Burroughs Corporation; and the nephew of public relations manager, Ivy Lee. During his early adolescent years, Burroughs set out into journal and essay writing, but it wasn’t until his thirties that he started publicizing his works. In 1932, he left home to study at Harvard University, where he majored in English, and then anthropology as a postgraduate; and later went to Vienna to enroll in medical school. Burroughs tried enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1942 to serve during World War II, but was not accepted by the Office of Strategic Services and Navy. It was at that point when he started going into drugs, an addiction that never left him for the rest of his life, in between working a range of jobs. Living in New York City in 1943, he befriended Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, a friendship that eventually led to the creation of the Beat Generation, which later developed a defining influence on the 1960s counterculture.

A large portion of Burroughs’s work is partly autobiographical, substantially shaped by his life as a heroin addict, as he lived in and around Paris, London, Tangier in Morocco and Mexico City, including his visits in the South American Amazon. By accident, Burroughs killed Joan Vollmer, his second wife, in Mexico City in 1951, which led to his conviction for manslaughter. Fueled by the success of Junkie (1953), his confessional first novel, Burroughs became a sensation after his third book, Naked Lunch (1959), an extremely controversial novel that was part of a sodomy court case in the U.S. In a joint effort with Brion Gysin, he also boosted the popularity of the literary cut-up trick in such projects as The Nova Trilogy (1961-1964).

Burroughs was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1983, and was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France a year later. For Jack Kerouac, Burroughs was undoubtedly the greatest satirical writer after Jonathan Swift, a status rooted in his natural subversion of the economic, political and moral structures of modern America, expressed in often bleakly humorous sardonicism.

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