Tag Archives: William S. Burroughs

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To Cut Up a Mockingbird:
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

GoSetaWatchman6,095 words

Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015

“I almost don’t care what the critics say as long as I can write another one.”[1]

Mockingbird is a classic, but you’ve probably read it before, and it’s no more relevant to your future legal career than 12 Angry Men is to picking a jury. Read more …

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The Enduring Reputation of
Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Celine81,282 words

“The white people invented the atom bomb, and a little later they disappeared.”
—Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Rigadon

May 27th is the 121st birthday of French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline (real name: Louis-Ferdinand Destouches)—avant-garde novelist, propagandist, dissident, and physician. In America Céline is mainly known for his first two dark, expressionistic novels, first published in the 1930s, Read more …

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Black House Rocked

blackhouse2,028 words

Paul Bingham and Emril Krestle
Black House Rocked
Hopeless Books, Uninc., 2015

“I’ve often wondered what happens to people when they get out of prison. People like you, I mean. Can they get jobs, do old friends rally around them? What if they never had any friends?” – Dial ‘M’ for Murder

No sooner had I hit “send” on my review of Only Lovers Left Alive,[1] Read more …

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Wild in the Streets of Sleepy London Town

OnlyLovers2,989 words

Dave Wallis
Only Lovers Left Alive
London: Anthony Blond, 1964
Richmond, Va.: Valancourt, 2015

“In those days, before the death of the last square . . .”

At some point, I suppose with Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange,[1] the “youth in trouble” genre, already fairly exploitative beneath its standard moralistic framework,[2] mutated into a “cult of youth” format, Read more …

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An Iconography for the Alt-Right:
Fenek Solère’s The Partisan

2,547 words

ThePartisanFenek Solère
The Partisan
London: Iron Sky Publishing, 2014

“How disheartening to those who uphold the myth of manhood based on muscles and metallic strength: this alone is the true man, the absolute man! He absorbs within himself the ambiguous virtue of the female. Lao-tzu talks about the invisible magic of the feminine, which in a feline fashion attracts and absorbs in itself man’s action . . .”

— Julius Evola, “Serpentine Wisdom”[1]  Read more …

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Curses, Cut-Ups, & Contraptions:
The “Disastrous Success” of William Burroughs’ Magick

5,685 words

BurroughsMagicMatthew Levi Stevens
The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs
Oxford: Mandrake of Oxford, 2014[1]

My very first question to him, a living, breathing, Beatnik legend in the flesh was . . . “Tell me about magick?” William was not in the least surprised by my question. “Care for a drink?” he asked. Putting on the TV to watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E., he explained “Reality is not really all it’s cracked up to be, you know . . .”—Genesis P-Orridge  Read more …

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A Personal History of Moral Decay

personalhistoryofmoraldecay4,540 words

Bradley R. Smith
A Personal History of Moral Decay
Charleston, W.V.: Nine-Banded Books, 2014

“I’m setting out to see the world and make my fortune, just like they did in the old days. I know I’m past the age when these things are normally taken care of, but I’m a slow starter.”

Read more …

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“The Wild Boys Smile”:
Reflections on Olaf Stapledon’s Odd John, Part 3

h-bomb-explosion4,320 words

Part 3 of 3

While smiling a lot, the colonists in Odd John don’t talk much at all, which just adds to their creepiness.

Read more …

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“The Wild Boys Smile”:
Reflections on Olaf Stapledon’s Odd John, Part 2

Burroughscrop

William S. Burroughs with the hint of a smile

5,047 words

Part 2 of 3 (part 1 here)

Alan Watts’ notion of “fascinating ugliness” leads us to another important theme is the disquieting or even repulsive “beauty” of John and his kind. Here is Jacqueline:

But though passably ‘human,’ according to the standards of Homo sapiens, she was strange. Were I an imaginative writer, and not merely a journalist, I might be able to suggest symbolically something of the almost “creepy” effect she had on me, something of its remote and sleepy power. Read more …

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“The Wild Boys Smile”:
Reflections on Olaf Stapledon’s Odd John, Part 1

4,763 words

stapledonPart 1 of 3

Olaf Stapledon
Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest
London: Methuen, 1935 (Etext)

“Well,” said John, “I’m thought queer because I have more brains than most children.”

After making my way through The Flames, and having read Last and First Men already, I decided to press ahead in my Kindle anthology by tackling Odd John, Read more …

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