100 Point William Burroughs Riff

1. William Seward Burroughs, born February 5th, 1914, St. Louis, Missouri. Died August 2, 1997, Lawrence, Kansas.

2. Danger.

danger

3. William S. Burroughs, a writer no one reads and everyone references.

4. Point three is not fair: I’m sure you, dearest reader, have read Burroughs, continue to read Burroughs, will read Burroughs, etc.

5. But, points three and four, it’s the idea of Burroughs, Burroughs-as-luminary, Burroughs-as-symbol, that our culture persists in keeping.

6. Re: Points three, four, five: Burroughs the poser who posed for so many photographs, who couldn’t say no to a spoken word CD or a collaboration or a fucking Nike ad.

7. And always with the guns.

burroughs_maplethorpe

8. And the knives.

william burroughs wielding a knife

9. And the guns.

william-burroughs-guns1

10. If you want to know what licenses Picasso to break the human form (and other forms) into cubes and lines and colors and figured abstractions, go gander at Aunt Pepa or First Communion.

11. If you want to know what licenses Duchamp to call a urinal a work of art, go gander at Portrait of the Artist’s Father.

12. If you want to know what licenses Burroughs to call Naked Lunch a novel, go read Junkie or Queer.

13. Junkie, the first Burroughs novel I read, is a high modernist classic.

14. Typewriter.

05

15. Shoes.

03

16. The reader is invited, most cordially, to print this riff and cut it into little bits and rearrange it.

17. The reader is invited, most cordially, to cut and paste this riff into a new digital document and rearrange it.

18. William Burroughs, curator.

19. William Burroughs, collaborator. Read More

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Topless William Burroughs

topless burroughs

Cormac McCarthy Shooting Pool in Texas, Like Fifteen Years Ago

(Source).

Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita, Languages, Lepidoptera (1964 LIFE Magazine Profile)

(From a 1964 LIFE profile; my favorite line: “It is odd, and probably my fault, that no people seem to name their daughters Lolita anymore. I have heard of young female poodles being given that name since 1956, but of no human beings.”)

JFK, Gore Vidal, and Tennessee Williams

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Finnegans Wake (With Bunny)

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Charles Dickens’s Traveling Cutlery Kit

(Via the Library of Congress).

Walt Whitman’s Cardboard Butterfly

(More/background/controversy)

Modernist Bros

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Public Library: American Commons — Robert Dawson’s Images of American Libraries

Check out Robert Dawson’s images of American libraries at Places. Evocative and even poignant in an age when libraries are under threat in this country, Dawson’s images remind us that libraries are, on one hand a monument to our culture and civilization, and, on the other hand, often the outposts of that civilization.

William Burroughs (and Madonna)

Faulkner Goes Topless

Historic Photos of Florida Ghost Towns

Historic Photos of Florida Ghost Towns, new from Turner Publishing, pairs beautiful black and white archival photos with detailed commentary by Steve Rajtar to offer a counter-narrative to the traditional history of Florida. Florida’s history is often told in terms of exponential growth, focusing on the Sunshine State’s ecological bounty as a reason for immigration and tourism. Ghost Towns takes a look at the many historical sites in Florida that were destroyed, absorbed, or abandoned as the state bounded to modernity. Rajtar and his editors have organized the book around all the different ways that a town might become a ghost town, including economic (company closings, plantation declines, railroad expansion), sociopolitical (absorption, abandonment, government mandates), and natural (fires, floods, hurricanes).

Appropriate for its title, there’s something haunting about many of the images in the book. Like all images from the past, they speak for what no longer exists, but there’s something melancholy here too. Take for example this 1897 image of the Lamb family from the ironically-named plantation township of Hopewell. Their dour expressions communicate a sense of the difficulties of an agrarian life in Florida over a century ago — more Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings than Miami Vice. What happened to these people after their farms collapsed? Where are their descendants today?

Historic Photos of Florida Ghost Towns will be a welcome addition to any Florida history buff’s library, as well as a handsome book for any Floridian’s coffee table. It’s also a worthy document to testify to an an alternate and often overlooked element of Florida history. Florida has a rich, storied past, and Ghost Towns helps to honor that. As the state heads into an uncertain future, the book also might make some of us reappraise our own cities’ chances of withstanding the test of time. Recommended.

William Burroughs’s Stuff

Check out this photo series of William Burroughs’s personal effects at The Morning News. There’s also a really cool interview with the photographer Peter Ross. Great, uh, stuff.