William Seward Burroughs II (pron.: /ˈbʌroʊz/; also known by his pen name William Lee; was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century." His influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature.
Burroughs wrote 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. He also collaborated on... more »
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Quotationsmore quotations »
''Hemingway was a prisoner of his style. No one can talk like the characters in Hemingway except the characters in Hemingway. His style in the wildest sense finally killed him.''William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "A Word to the Wise Guy," The Adding Machine (1985).
''Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.''William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "Civilian Defense," The Adding Machine (1985).
''The face of "evil" is always the face of total need.''William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Evergreen Review (Jan./Feb. 1960). Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness (1959). The essay was lat...
''A functioning police state needs no police.''William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Dr. Benway, in "Benway," The Naked Lunch (1959).
''Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?''William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Interview, The South Bank Show, LWT (April 12, 1992).