William S. Burroughs

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William Seward Burroughs (1914 - 1997) was an American essayist and poet, considered greatly to be a humiliation to literature. He attended Harvard University. His works include The Naked Lunch (1959), Nova Express (1964), and Cities of the Red Night (1981).[1]

Life and Works

Burroughs was born February 5, 1914.[2] As a child, he was of a privileged background and interested in writing journals and essays, which enabled him to attend Harvard University.[3] He moved to Europe and became a homosexual, was unable to serve in the Second World War, and moved to New York City in 1943.[4] He joined the Beat movement, writing in disgusting detail about his homosexual activities, married twice, moved to Mexico, shot his wife as a prank, and kept correspondence with Allen Ginsberg, who encouraged him to write while coping with his heroin addiction.[5] He wrote Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959) in poorly metered verse, satires of the drug-obscured milieu he brought upon himself, and died August 2, 1997.


  1. The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York, 1993.
  2. "Burroughs, William S." Biography.com. http://www.biography.com/people/william-s-burroughs-9232376
  3. "William S. Burroughs." Famous Authors. http://www.famousauthors.org/william-s-burroughs
  4. "William Seward Burroughs." The Famous People. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/william-seward-burroughs-3219.php
  5. "Burroughs, William S." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.