Category Archives: Beat Generation

Kathy Acker and Postmodernism

Though Kathy Acker doubts her ability to write essays, she nevertheless tackles the classical questions like any other essayist. In her short essay on postmodernism, she gives an answer to the question “What is art?” Her answer is that art … Continue reading

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William Burroughs and Facts

William Burroughs tells Allen Ginsberg: “I am about to annunciate a philosophy called ‘factualism.’ All arguments, all nonsensical considerations as to what people ‘should do,’ are irrelevant. Ultimately there is only facts on all levels, and the more one argues, … Continue reading

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Notes on William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg May 5th, 1951

In a letter to Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs seems to be saying that he’s incapable of envy. Envy arises from a particular kind of ignorance, of which Burroughs has cured himself: “Envy and resentment is only possible when you can … Continue reading

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Notes on The Soft Machine Chapter 10: “Last Hints”

This chapter is about Carl continuing his travels through space and time by finding a new body. He’s back in the city of catwalks and ladders and cable-cars in the middle of a jungle. Presumably he’s already changed bodies at … Continue reading

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Notes on The Soft Machine Chapter 8: “I Sekuin”

“… the old hop smoking world I created …” Who created it? “I Sekuin …” Who are you? “I Sekuin Perfected These Arts Along The Streets Of Minraud.” Sekuin has perfected the art of image-control. Word dust blows through the … Continue reading

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William Burroughs, Truth, and Storytelling

The young Burroughs liked to read adventure stories. The older Burroughs did too. Stories are about characters. What’s infuriating and gripping about a good character is that she’ll have blind spots, things the reader can see that she cannot. It … Continue reading

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Lessons from Los Alamos

Albert James Connell ran the Los Alamos Ranch school, which William S. Burroughs attended when he was a boy. “Many of Connell’s ideas were taken on board by Burroughs, such as that there was no such thing as an accident: … Continue reading

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