"We must find out what words are and how they function. They become images when written down, but images of words repeated in the mind and not of the image of the thing itself."

- William S. Burroughs

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William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in ST. Louis, Missouri, the grandson of the Burroughs Adding Machine inventor.
After his graduation from Harvard University, Burroughs lived in Chicago and then New York, where he met two of the leading figures of the Beat generation, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Burroughs began a criminal career, selling stolen goods and Syrettes of morphine, which eventually led to his addiction to this powerful drug. In 1947, Burroughs began living with Joan Vollmer, with whom he had a son, William S. Burroughs Jr. After the child's birth, they moved to New Orleans, Texas and ultimately Mexico City. Both parents were highly addicted to Benzedrine(Joan) and Morphine(William) and the drugs were more readily available in these locations.
On September 6, 1951 William S. Burroughs confused himself with William Tell and, in a failed attempt at marksmanship (he was attempting to shoot a glass from his wife's head) accidentally killed his wife. He was charged with criminal imprudence and after being released on bail, he left Mexico City and began traveling South America.
Nineteen fifty-seven found Burroughs in Tangiers with Jack Kerouac. It was here that Naked Lunch, his best known novel, was penned.
With its publication in 1959, Burroughs became and underground celebrity. The book has since been adapted for the screen by David Cronenberg. Burroughs continued to write and produced many more novels, plays, essays and film scripts.
William S. Burroughs passed away in Lawrence, Kansas at 6:50PM on August 2, 1997. He had suffered a heart attack the day before his death.
  • Junky
  • Naked Lunch
  • The Soft Machine
  • The Ticket That Exploded
  • Nova Express
  • Roosevelt After Inauguration
  • Ali's Smile
  • The Wild Boys
  • Exterminator!
  • Book of Breething
  • Port of Saints
  • Blade Runner: A Movie
  • Early Routines
  • Cities of the Red Night
  • The Place of Dead Roads
  • Queer
  • My Education
  • Interzone
  • The Western Lands
  • This is by no means a comprehensive list of Burroughs' works.
    Titles available at