Gentleman Junkie

Gentleman Junkie

The Life and Legacy of William S. Burroughs

Book - 1998
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A portrait of the iconoclastic literary pioneer describes his early life and education, his growing addiction to heroin, his role in the Beat movement, his landmark works, and his influence on the late twentieth century arts.
Publisher: Boston : Little Brown and Co., 1998.
ISBN: 9780316137256
Branch Call Number: 813 BUR C
Characteristics: 224 p. : ill. (some col.)


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Apr 12, 2016

This isn't as detailed a biography as Call Me Burroughs or Literary Outlaw but it is a very fine addition to the Burroughs books. Gentleman Junkie is a study of the myth of William Burroughs and how that myth contains the man and visa versa. The book is very well written and has some interesting insights for anyone interested in the study of Burroughs, his life and legend. This book is visually very appealing and the graphics are much like something from Burroughs' scrapbooks. One is tempted to read the newspaper articles in bedded in the collages and at the same time there are a few places where the graphics make it impossible to read some of the text. There is more of a focus on the films and records that Burroughs has appeared in than in other books I have read. For instance it discusses the making of Drugstore Cowboy and the creation of Burroughs' character, Father Murphy, a defrocked junkie priest. Apparently the dialogue that the screen writers had come up with didn't fit well and Burroughs was allowed to come up with his own. I also enjoyed the description of the American Indian sweat lodge ceremony that Burroughs participated in in Kansas. All things considered this is a very cool introduction to the father of the Beat Generation.

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