Biography of William Seward Burroughs:

William Seward Burroughs II, commonly known as William S. Burroughs, was an American novelist, essayist, and cultural icon associated with the Beat Generation and the counterculture movement. He was born on February 5, 1914, in St. Louis, Missouri, and passed away on August 2, 1997, in Lawrence, Kansas.
Family Background and Education - Mexico and the Shooting Incident - Later Works and Death of William Seward Burroughs
Biography of William Seward Burroughs
Key Points in William S. Burroughs’ Biography:

1. Family Background of William Seward Burroughs:

Burroughs came from a prominent and wealthy family. His grandfather, William Seward Burroughs I, was the inventor of the adding machine.
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2. Education:

Burroughs attended Harvard University, where he studied English literature. During his time at Harvard, he developed an interest in literature and began exploring unconventional writing styles.

3. William Seward Burroughs in World War II:

Burroughs served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After his discharge, he held various jobs, including one as an exterminator, which later influenced his novel “Naked Lunch.”
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4. Move to New York and the Beat Generation:

In the 1940s, Burroughs became associated with the Beat Generation, a literary movement that included writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. He moved to New York City and became part of the vibrant artistic and intellectual community.

5. Mexico and the Shooting Incident:

In 1951, Burroughs moved to Mexico City, where he accidentally shot and killed his wife, Joan Vollmer, in a tragic incident during a drunken attempt at a William Tell-style game. This event profoundly influenced his life and work.
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6. Literary Works of William Seward Burroughs:

Burroughs is best known for his avant-garde and experimental writing. His most famous work is “Naked Lunch” (1959), a novel that challenges conventional narrative structures and explores drug addiction, sexuality, and the nature of control.

7. Cut-Up Technique:

Burroughs developed the cut-up technique, a literary experiment involving cutting up text and rearranging it to create a new narrative. This technique influenced many writers and artists.

8. Relationship with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac:

Burroughs had close relationships with fellow Beat writers Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Their interactions and collaborations contributed to the development of Beat literature.
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9. Travel and Exile of William Seward Burroughs:

Burroughs spent significant periods of his life traveling and living abroad, including in Tangier, Morocco, where he continued to write and experiment with his literary style.

10. Return to the United States:

 Burroughs returned to the United States in the 1970s. He continued writing and exploring different forms of expression, including visual arts and spoken word performances.

11. Later Works:

 Some of Burroughs’ later works include “The Wild Boys” (1971), “Cities of the Red Night” (1981), and the trilogy known as the “Red Night Trilogy.”
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12. Music and Collaborations:

 Burroughs collaborated with musicians, including members of the rock band Steely Dan and experimental musician Laurie Anderson. He also appeared in several films.

13. Death of William Seward Burroughs:

 William S. Burroughs passed away on August 2, 1997, in Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 83.

14. Legacy:

 Burroughs’ impact on literature, particularly his contributions to experimental writing, remains significant. His influence extends beyond literature to visual arts, music, and popular culture. He is remembered as a provocative and groundbreaking figure in American literature.
William S. Burroughs’ unconventional approach to literature, along with his exploration of taboo subjects and avant-garde techniques, positioned him as a key figure in the countercultural movements of the mid-20th century. His legacy continues to be celebrated by those interested in experimental and boundary-pushing forms of artistic expression.
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