Literary Criticism online

William Burroughs (1914-1997)

A selective list of online literary criticism for beat writer William Burroughs, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and web sites that adhere to the MLA guidelines for web pages


main page | 20th-century literary criticism | 20th-century fiction | Beat writers | about the Beats | about literaryhistory


literary criticism

Berger, James. "Queer Apocalypse: Framing William Burroughs." A review of Postmodern Apocalypse: Theory and Cultural Practice at the End, by Richard Dellamora. Postmodern Culture 6 (1996).

Harris, Oliver. "The Frisco Kid He Never Returns: Naked Lunch and San Francisco." San Francisco Art Institute, 20 November 2009.

- - -. "From Dr Mabuse to Doc Benway: The Myths and Manuscripts of Naked Lunch." "Naked Lunch @ 50," Columbia University, 9 October 2009.

- - -. "The Holy Shit of Burroughs and Kerouac." From the conference "KerouacÂ’s On the Road: The Beats and the Post-Beats," 2008.

- - -. "Cutting up the Archive: William Burroughs and the Composite Text." Rev. paper from 4th Annual Symposium on Textual Studies, Centre for Textual Scholarship, De Montfort University, 2007.

- - -. "Everything Lost, the Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs: The Inside Story." Reality Studio, 2008.

Lopez, Ken. "Burroughs Literary Archive." Excerpt from A Descriptive Catalogue of the William S. Burroughs Archive, 1973.

Lydenberg, Robin, and Jennie Skerl. William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989 (Southern Illinois UP 1991). At Questia (subscription service).

Murphy, Timothy S. "Faithful to the Star on Each Other's Foreheads." "William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg were the mind and the heart, respectively, of the Beat Generation." Brief essay, part of William S. Burroughs & Allen Ginsberg: a select bibliography of works in the UCLA University Library.

Murphy, Timothy S. Publisher's site for Wising Up the Marks: The Amodern William Burroughs (U California P 1998). "Draws on the work of such philosophers as Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Theodor Adorno, and Jean-Paul Sartre, and also investigates the historical contexts from which Burroughs's writings arose." At Google Books. Also A review (first page only) in Modern Fiction Studies.

Sands, Mary. A review of Conversations with William S. Burroughs by Allen Hibbard. Jack Magazine 7.

Schneiderman, Davis, and Philip Walsh. Publisher's site for Retaking The Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (Macmillan 2004). Covers Burroughs and contemporary theory, debates on 'reality,' violence, magic and mysticism, cybernetic cultures, language and technology, control and transformation, transgression and addiction, the limits of prose, image politics and the avant-garde.

Schottlaender, Brian E.C. Anything But Routine: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography of William S. Burroughs. U of Calif. Escholarship (complete book available, open access).

Skerl, Jennie. A review of The Lost Years of William S. Burroughs: Beats in South Texas by Rob Johnson. College Station, TX: Texas A&M UP, 2006. The Beat Review 1, 1 (Summer 2007).

Wood, Brent. "Bring on the Noise! William S. Burroughs and Music in the Expanded Field." Review of Dead City Radio. Postmodern Culture 5 (1994-1995).


introduction & biography

Murphy, Timothy S. "William Burroughs." Literary Encyclopedia. 21 March 2002. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Burroughs, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription. The Naked Lunch (1959); The Nova Trilogy (1961).

Reality Studio. Ed. Supervert. "A William S. Burroughs Community," contains excellent material on Burroughs, including early criticism by Marshall McLuhan, Joan Didion, and Terry Southern, notes on collecting Burroughs, interviews, and scholarship [some of the essays are cited here].

Birmingham, Jed. "William Burroughs and Jonathan Williams." Jacket Magazine 38 (2009). Why Jonathan Williams didn't publish William Burroughs.

William S. Burroughs - 1914-1997. Brief memoir of Burroughs by a fellow author. In the Advocate, 20 Jan. 1998 by Gary Indiana [removed].

McCarthy, Mary. "Déjeuner sur l'Herbe." A review of Naked Lunch. The NY Review of Books 1, 1 (1963).


main page | 20th-century literary criticism | 20th-century fiction | Beat writers | about the Beats | about literaryhistory


1998-2010 by LiteraryHistory.com

With thanks to Jennie Skerl for advising and reviewing