By Barry Miles
Fifty years in the past, Norman Mailer asserted, "William Burroughs is the single American novelist residing at the present time who may possibly conceivably be possessed by means of genius." Few given that have taken such literary hazards, built such person political or non secular rules, or spanned the sort of wide variety of media. Burroughs wrote novels, memoirs, technical manuals, and poetry. He painted, made collages, took millions of pictures, produced hundreds of thousands of hours of experimental recordings, acted in video clips, and recorded extra CDs than so much rock bands. Burroughs was once the unique cult determine of the Beat stream, and with the booklet of his novel Naked Lunch, which was once initially banned for obscenity, he grew to become a guru to the 60s formative years counterculture. In CALL ME BURROUGHS, biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles provides the 1st full-length biography of Burroughs to be released in 1 / 4 century-and the 1st one to chronicle the decade of Burroughs's existence and view his long term cultural legacy.
Written with the whole aid of the Burroughs property and drawing from numerous interviews with figures like Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Burroughs himself, CALL ME BURROUGHS is a carefully researched biography that at last will get to the center of its notoriously mercurial topic.
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Extra info for Call Me Burroughs: A Life
If there is continuity between my earlier book and this one, there are also differences. The relation between law and literature did not remain static. Changes in it necessitate a different organizational principle. The first book juxtaposed important legal figures and their cases with important literary figures and their stories. Close family and class connections between the two professions enabled this structure. If by the 1850s the intricate alliance between lawyers and men of letters in the early years of the republic had broken down, close biographical connections remained.
Page 4 Sumner did not deny the existence of classes. For him the competition fostered by contract led to a division between people. But because all were given equal opportunity, that division was natural, not based on caste. In a contractual society, Sumner might argue, economic success dictated a man's social status rather than social status dictating his economic position. But as Karl Polanyi points out, it is a mistake to think of class only in terms of economic interest. "Purely economic matters such as affect want-satisfaction are incomparably less relevant to class behavior than questions of social recognition....
Many artists try to present realistic visions of the world. Any judgment of whether or not a work is realistic depends on the sense of reality in which one operates. Since a sense of reality can change from author to author and critic to critic, why give some works the privileged label of realism? Page 8 One way of responding to the insight that realism is a convention as much as any other presentation of reality is to describe the particular sense of reality that self-proclaimed realists perceive.