William S. Burroughs (1914–1997)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch23

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) William S. Burroughs (1914–1997), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch23

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • William S. Burroughs (1914–1997), the oldest of the major figures - associated with the Beat Generation in 1950s;
  • Burroughs, returning to Harvard for graduate work in anthropology - writing stories in collaboration with Kells Elvins, studying psychology;
  • Burroughs, writing Junkie while in Mexico - original title being “Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict”;
  • In Tangier, Burroughs set about writing Naked Lunch - helped by Kerouac and Ginsberg in manuscript work;
  • Naked Lunch, raising a literary as well as legal controversy - upon its publication;
  • Burroughs, began writing and organizing material - for his Nova trilogy: The Soft Machine, The Ticket that Exploded and Nova Express;
  • The Ticket that Exploded, an interest Burroughs developed - living at one point in London;
  • Burroughs's 1995 collection, My Education: A Book of Dreams (1995) - being his last book


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography