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Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs Paperback – 12 Dec 1991
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About the Author
Ted Morgan is a prize-winning journalist and author of, among other books, biographies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Somerset Maugham. His account of France under German occupation, An Uncertain House, was published in 1990.
Top customer reviews
Whether you are a fan of his work or not, this book is an important chronicle of one of the twentieth century's most controversial authors. Perhaps more importantly it is one of the best books on the Beat Generation you will read
I read somewhere -- possibly in Will Self's Junk Mail -- that Burroughs disliked this biography of himself. I think it captures a character wonderfully. Whether or not that character was truly Burroughs' own, or indeed whether *any* biography ever accurately reflects a person, is another debate.
Thought-provoking, intelligent, and highly recommended.
In the mid-40's while others fought in WWII he finally got addicted to Morphine & their troubles increased when Lucien Carr shot & killed a homo-sexual lover with the Gun Vollmer had borrowed her then G.I. husband. They temporarily moved to New Orleans in 1948; where Joan rid herself of first husband & married Bill Snr. - it was 1946. Bill was addicted to Morphine & Jean was addicted to Speed, what a start to married life.
They decided to move to Mexico City & it was here while under the influence of alcohol Burroughs supposedly did his William Tell trick (Egged on by Jean Vollmer) she placed a shot glass of alcohol on her head - he was bloody lucky that Mexico was so easy going back then & there had been a number of witness's - Billy Jnr. wasn't there when his Mum was shot by his Dad - he was supposedly staying with William Burroughs parents in Kansas U.S.A. -it was only 1951 and Burroughs had started his writing career in a small way. His first book he ever had published was 'Junkie' with one of those colourful drawings of a woman being drawn into the depths of depravity. The book is well over 600 pages long & except for the repetitiveness of his 'Addiction in Morocco' there is not a lot of repeat material. All I can say is read it, I just cannot understand why a film of his life hasn't been made. You can read how their meetings with Burroughs affected people like Kerouac or Ginsberg & even his own son Billy Jnr. and I stopped this book a third of the way through his life. He travels in search of 'Real' witch doctors, then to North Africa where he becomes 'La Umbre Invisibli' (something like that- because of the Morphine he buys over the counter in the back-streets of Morocco). He then travels on to London to take the one true cure he swears by 'Apo-morphine' - eventually he returns to the U.S. via America after he has been hailed a genius. A truly brilliant book, it's unbelievable that one-man survived to his Nineties.
Most recent customer reviews
Pity it never arrived.