A note on William S. Burroughs

William S Burroughs observation - Rino Breebaart


  1. Thanks for bringing up WSB, now I'll reread some of his work this weekend. Herman Melville coined the concept Original Character, and though WSB was no literary character, he was one of the great Original Characters in 20th century literature. Maybe he was not fearless, but pared a strong sense of vulnerability to his intelligence, that told him not to take his fears and obsessions personally. You are not your emotions. This combination makes his exploratory bravery something of a real virtue, there is true despair and real humor under his literary cool. You're right, his greatness lies in his courage and honesty

  2. Anonymous1:22 am

    "...writer as explorer"; that's a good description. I enjoyed his contribution to "And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks". I like some of his poetry. I couldn't get in to "Naked Lunch" at the time that I read it, however I appreciate what he added to the literary world and I'm not opposed to trying a re-read since I understand more about him then I used to. His bravery alone made him pretty cool; the fact that he was a good writer just added to his impact on the world.

  3. Dirk - I like that angle of the vulnerability and tough balance - I think deep down he did have a fragility of sorts too, a weakness in the face of love perhaps.

    I re-read Naked Lunch recently, and found it enjoyable to read, after finding it tough going the first few times. It's a wildly uneven book, and also wildly funny in places; and also a degree prophetic. But there was a vibe coming through as well - a vibe of this being an artefact of self-analysis or therapy, an outing of sorts, a desperate dark subsconscious backing being exposed to the light. The other side of a therapeutic coin. A purging and a daring, a maniacal letting-it-all-out, that was personal first, and a work of prose second, and a Beat explosive third.

  4. Someone just pointed this out to me which I think might interest you. Burroughs attends a Led Zep concert in 1975 and then chats to Jimmy Page about it...

  5. Yes - I'd heard of that in some Burroughs article - I will read it in full; but if I remember it's got WSB going on about black magic and mind/crowd control and Jimmy not contributing much... Or maybe WSB was searching for the brown note - memory ain't my strong suit. But I will read it in full.

    Strange, I just logged onto Crawdaddy earlier this morning again...


Nice comments are welcome!