The Letters of William S.Burroughs, 1945-59 William S. Burroughs
This is the first in a two volume set of the collected letters of William S. Burroughs. The letters are entertaining and revealing, placing Burroughs's work in the context of an extraordinary life, and Burroughs himself in the context of a decade and a half of momentous cultural change. Burroughs circle at the time was one of the principal players in the soon-to-be-realized Beat Movement - Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. Throughout this period writing letters was one of only two constant habits in Burroughs's life, the other was heroin. Addiction was an abiding preoccupation, conferring an outsider status reinforced by his homosexuality (which was illegal in those days). From hipster to so-called Godfather of Punk, Burroughs has lived a controversial life as a leading member of the Beat Generation and a daring writer of psychedelic literary experiments. He first came to notice with Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict (1953), and in 1962 the fight to prevent censorship of Naked Lunch - an important landmark in modern literary history - ensured Burroughs, and his work, permanent notoriety. His more recent fiction has been viewed as quieter and less extravagant, but it remains true to Burroughs's perennial obsessions: guns, drugs and homosexuality.