Signed Edition Sweepstakes
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$32.00
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Burnside Literature- A to Z
2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z
23 Local Warehouse Biography- Literary
19 Remote Warehouse Biography- Literary

More copies of this ISBN

Call Me Burroughs: A Life

by

Call Me Burroughs: A Life Cover

ISBN13: 9781455511952
ISBN10: 1455511951
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Fifty years ago, Norman Mailer asserted, "William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." Few since have taken such literary risks, developed such individual political or spiritual ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media. Burroughs wrote novels, memoirs, technical manuals, and poetry. He painted, made collages, took thousands of photographs, produced hundreds of hours of experimental recordings, acted in movies, and recorded more CDs than most rock bands. Burroughs was the original cult figure of the Beat Movement, and with the publication of his novel Naked Lunch, which was originally banned for obscenity, he became a guru to the 60s youth counterculture. In Call Me Burroughs, biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles presents the first full-length biography of Burroughs to be published in a quarter century — and the first one to chronicle the last decade of Burroughs's life and examine his long-term cultural legacy.

Written with the full support of the Burroughs estate and drawing from countless interviews with figures like Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Burroughs himself, Call Me Burroughs is a rigorously researched biography that finally gets to the heart of its notoriously mercurial subject.

Review:

"The pioneering American countercultural writer and artist William Burroughs emerges as his own greatest character in this raucous biography. Biographer and Burroughs editor Miles (Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats) pens a dense, detailed, yet wonderfully readable and entertaining narrative that illuminates, without sensationalizing, Burroughs's manifold peculiarities: his avid sexual interest in teenaged boys; his use of hashish, hallucinogens, and heroin; his petty crimes and drug-dealing; his love of casual gunplay (he fatally shot his wife during a game of William Tell); his obsession with other-worldly phenomena, from Scientology, to UFO abductions, to his own theories of giant intergalactic insects that control everything; his hair-trigger psychodramas with intimates and complete strangers; his embrace of every experience, especially those that appalled and disgusted him; the fastidious manners and banker's wardrobe that made his anti-social provocations seem even more subversive. Miles's exhaustively researched account draws on the writer's blunt, self-revealing private writings along with reminiscences from Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, and other associates to flesh out Burroughs's personality, surroundings, and equally colorful circle of acquaintances, who were forever doing interesting things like getting mauled by lions. Miles just puts it all on paper with aplomb and deadpan wit, showing how the gross-out surrealism of Burroughs's fiction flowed from the lurid creativity of everyday life. Agent: James Macdonald Lockhart, the Antony Harwood Agency (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Call Me Burroughs is riddled with...weird anecdotes laced with gallows humor, bizarre coincidences and profane punch lines. It's a massive undertaking made complicated by Burroughs' peripatetic lifestyle and rampant drug use. To say he was a difficult man to pin down is understatement, but Miles is up to the task." LA Times

Review:

"One long, strange, profoundly American literary life. Burroughs's work has had a profound if often oblique influence on the writing of his century and this one. I can scarcely imagine what it would be like to read Barry Miles's biography without being thoroughly familiar with the outline of the narrative. Truly, stranger than fiction." William Gibson

Review:

"Call Me Burroughs is the most intimate portrait to date of one of the twentieth century's most complicated, troubled, and influential figures. Miles's deep knowledge of the man and the work also provides a cultural history of the scene in Tangiers in the 1950s, the Beat era, and the emerging Punk scene in New York in the 1980s. It is a compelling biography and social history unlike any other." Ira Silverberg, co-editor of Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader

Review:

"Call Me Burroughs is full of energy and surprise and is a delight to read. Barry Miles combines his intimate knowledge of Burroughs with the meticulous research of Burroughs's companion James Grauerholz, to produce an extremely accurate, readable, and entertaining biography of one of the most inventive writers of the twentieth century. Reading this extraordinary book is like hanging around with Burroughs himself and is impossible to forget." Bill Morgan, author of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg and The Typewriter Is Holy

Review:

"By any standard Burroughs's was an unusual life, full of scandal, subversion, and sensitivity hidden behind a cold blue gaze. Miles enriches this 'life of an artist' with decades of dedicated immersion in the work both published and unpublished, digging deep into archival material and manuscripts, incorporating journals of friends and acquaintances. With great authority and verve, he brings up to date the legacy of a true American original who grows, even years after his death, in fascination." Regina Weinreich, author of Kerouac's Spontaneous Poetics and editor of Kerouac's Book of Haikus

About the Author

Barry Miles is the author of many seminal books on popular culture, including the authorized biography of Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now; Ginsberg: A Biography; William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible; Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats; and The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Corso in Paris, 1957-1963. He also co-edited the Revised Text Edition of Naked Lunch. Miles was born in Cirencester, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lukas, August 27, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
Exterminate all rational thought. The late Lou Reed, in one of his combative moods, said something like "My week beats your year." Well, William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), one of Reed's many literary influences, lived days that beat many people's decades. Born into an affluent St. Louis family, Burroughs's adventures are almost inseparable from his formidable body of work. Even those who haven't read his epochal "Naked Lunch" know about his long heroin addiction, his homosexuality, his association with the Beats, and, of course, the infamous wife shooting incident. Barry Miles puts together a well-researched, balanced, and fascinating account of Burroughs's life and work and is unafraid to go into the darker corners of his life. What emerges is a complex portrait of a difficult and complicated man, who was perhaps the most radical American writer of the 20th century, one whose influence cuts across genres, finding its way into film (Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch"), and music (Joy Division, Steely Dan), as well as literature (Ballard in particular). Essential reading. Possible tagline: "Come for the transgressive sex, stay because you overdosed on heroin."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781455511952
Subtitle:
A Life
Author:
Miles, Barry
Publisher:
Twelve
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English

Other books you might like

  1. Windfall: The Booming Business of... Used Hardcover $10.50

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General

Call Me Burroughs: A Life New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$32.00 In Stock
Product details pages Twelve - English 9781455511952 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The pioneering American countercultural writer and artist William Burroughs emerges as his own greatest character in this raucous biography. Biographer and Burroughs editor Miles (Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats) pens a dense, detailed, yet wonderfully readable and entertaining narrative that illuminates, without sensationalizing, Burroughs's manifold peculiarities: his avid sexual interest in teenaged boys; his use of hashish, hallucinogens, and heroin; his petty crimes and drug-dealing; his love of casual gunplay (he fatally shot his wife during a game of William Tell); his obsession with other-worldly phenomena, from Scientology, to UFO abductions, to his own theories of giant intergalactic insects that control everything; his hair-trigger psychodramas with intimates and complete strangers; his embrace of every experience, especially those that appalled and disgusted him; the fastidious manners and banker's wardrobe that made his anti-social provocations seem even more subversive. Miles's exhaustively researched account draws on the writer's blunt, self-revealing private writings along with reminiscences from Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, and other associates to flesh out Burroughs's personality, surroundings, and equally colorful circle of acquaintances, who were forever doing interesting things like getting mauled by lions. Miles just puts it all on paper with aplomb and deadpan wit, showing how the gross-out surrealism of Burroughs's fiction flowed from the lurid creativity of everyday life. Agent: James Macdonald Lockhart, the Antony Harwood Agency (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Call Me Burroughs is riddled with...weird anecdotes laced with gallows humor, bizarre coincidences and profane punch lines. It's a massive undertaking made complicated by Burroughs' peripatetic lifestyle and rampant drug use. To say he was a difficult man to pin down is understatement, but Miles is up to the task."
"Review" by , "One long, strange, profoundly American literary life. Burroughs's work has had a profound if often oblique influence on the writing of his century and this one. I can scarcely imagine what it would be like to read Barry Miles's biography without being thoroughly familiar with the outline of the narrative. Truly, stranger than fiction."
"Review" by , "Call Me Burroughs is the most intimate portrait to date of one of the twentieth century's most complicated, troubled, and influential figures. Miles's deep knowledge of the man and the work also provides a cultural history of the scene in Tangiers in the 1950s, the Beat era, and the emerging Punk scene in New York in the 1980s. It is a compelling biography and social history unlike any other."
"Review" by , "Call Me Burroughs is full of energy and surprise and is a delight to read. Barry Miles combines his intimate knowledge of Burroughs with the meticulous research of Burroughs's companion James Grauerholz, to produce an extremely accurate, readable, and entertaining biography of one of the most inventive writers of the twentieth century. Reading this extraordinary book is like hanging around with Burroughs himself and is impossible to forget." Bill Morgan, author of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg and The Typewriter Is Holy
"Review" by , "By any standard Burroughs's was an unusual life, full of scandal, subversion, and sensitivity hidden behind a cold blue gaze. Miles enriches this 'life of an artist' with decades of dedicated immersion in the work both published and unpublished, digging deep into archival material and manuscripts, incorporating journals of friends and acquaintances. With great authority and verve, he brings up to date the legacy of a true American original who grows, even years after his death, in fascination."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.