burroughs s

Chronology William S. Burroughs

1914 William Seward Burroughs II was born on 5.2.1914 in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Mortimer Burroughs, was the son of William Burroughs I, an inventor, who perfected the mechanism of the calculator in the 1880’s and founded the international firm, Burroughs.
1927 He devoured the book, You Can’t Win by Jack Black, the memoirs of a professional thief and opium smoker, whose scenery and personages exerted a powerful influence on the 13-year-old. It would provide the model for Burroughs’ first novel, Junky. Attempts in writing. Burroughs feels to be an outsider and becomes aware of his homoerotic affinities.
1930 – 1931 William S. Burroughs’ parents sent him to the expensive boarding school, “Los Alamos” in New Mexico. The Los Alamos Ranch School was closed in February 1943, making room for the test ground of the “Manhattan Project”, the development of the first atom bomb by J. R. Oppenheimer.
1932 – 1936 William S. Burroughs was studying English literature at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In George Lyman Kittredge’s courses on Shakespeare, he learned entire passages by heart.
1936 – 1937 Burroughs went to Vienna and enrolled to study medicine at the university. In Dubrovnik he became friends with Ilse Klapper, a Jewish woman, who had fled the Nazis in Hamburg. When he went back to Dubrovnik, he decided to marry Ilse Klapper, in order to enable her to immigrate to the USA. The marriage took place in Athens and was dissolved a few years later in the U.S.
1938 With his boyhood friend, Kells Elvins, Burroughs moved into a small house in Cambridge, Massachusetts and signed up for courses on Navajo language and Mayan archeology. Together Burroughs and Elvins wrote the story, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, the depiction of a catastrophe at sea modeled on the Titanic and the Morro Castle. As a consequence, Burrough’s writer’s block, which had lasted for years, came to an end.
1939 In August, Burroughs went to Chicago and signed up for five lectures by Graf Alfred Korzybski, the author of the Theory of General Semantics. Burroughs went back to New York and met Jack Anderson there, with whom he began a sexual relationship. In despair at Anderson’s coldness and infidelity, Burroughs cut off the end of his little finger on his left hand with poultry shears. That led to his psychiatrist persuading him to have himself admitted to the Bellevue psychiatric clinic.
1942 – 1943 Burroughs lived in a pension in the run-down district of Chicago North Side. Here he found the milieu of Jack Black’s You Can’t Win. He found a job as an exterminator with A. J. Cohen Exterminators. Two friends from St Louis arrived in Chicago: Lucien Carr and David Kammerer.
1943 Carr shifted in the spring to Columbia University in New York, and Kammerer and Burroughs followed him. Lucien Carr met Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. He introduced his two new friends to Burroughs and Kammerer. Kerouac moved into the flat of his girlfriend, Edie Parker and Joan Vollmer. The flat became the focus of the newly formed circle of friends. The trio of Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac was to form the heart of the literary Beat Movement.
1944 Carr stabbed his admirer, Kammerer, and confessed to Burroughs and Kerouac. Kerouac and Burroughs were arrested temporarily because they had not reported the murder. They processed the act in the jointly composed novel And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks. The book was published after Carr’s death in 2008.
1945 On 6 August, the U.S. dropped the atom bomb, “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, followed by “Fat Boy” on Nagasaki on 9 August. In the dropping of the A bombs, Burroughs saw the end of culture.
1946 Burroughs hung around with junkies and hustler on Times Square. He got to know Herbert Huncke and Phil White and became dependant of morphine. Joan and Kerouac were taking increasing amounts of Benzedrine. Burroughs got arrested for forging morphine prescriptions and left the city.
1947 Intending to live as a farmer in New Waverley near Houston, Texas. In July, Billy Burroughs jun. was born.
1948 Burroughs went in for rehabilitation at the Federal Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Afterward he moved with his family to New Orleans and was soon hooked again.
1949 A search of Burroughs’ house, turned up marijuana and weapons. He was at risk of being locked up in Louisiana’s notorious penitentiary Angola. Burroughs and his family went on over the border to Mexico City, where he set up home in 1949.
1950 Burroughs studied Archeology of the Mayans and the Aztecs as well as anthropology at the Mexico City College. Burroughs began his first novel, with the working title of “Junk”.
1951 In the Bounty Bar, a student pub, Burroughs got to know Lewis Marker, a young student, with whom he went on a trip to Ecuador via Panama, searching for Yage, a hallucinogen which inspires visions and is said to strengthen telepathic abilities. The journey was a disappointment: Burroughs could not find any Yage and he did not succeed in forming an attachment to Marker. One week after his return a tragedy occurred which would mark Burroughs’ life from then on: he inadvertently shot his wife, Joan, in the head. She died a short time later.
1953 “Junk” appeared under the title, Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict,in Marchunder the pseudonym, William Lee. In December, Burroughs traveled with Alan Ansen to Tangiers in Morocco, his interest having been aroused by the novel, Let It Come Down, by Paul Bowles.
1954 Until 1956, Tangiers was an international zone. In this city, Burroughs could live freely and unmolested as a drug user and homosexual. Burroughs became strongly addicted to Eucodol (known today under the name Methadone). An intensive correspondence with Allen Ginsberg. In it, Burroughs wrote down a part of his new novel, which consisted predominantly of “Routines” and, with its working title, “Interzone”, introduced the name for the main setting, Tangiers, in Naked Lunch. He met Brion Gysin for the first time.
1956 Burroughs traveled to London, to Dr. Dent: successful treatment with his Apomorphine cure. In Tangiers he lieved in the Villa Muniria. The manuscript pages landed on the floor and compacted into a chaotic heap. The material that would flow into Naked Lunch but also into The Soft Machine and The Ticket That Exploded came about here. Allen Ginsbergs Howl was published.
1957 Kerouac arrived in Tangiers. He helped with the transcribtion of Burroughs’ manuscript and suggested the title Naked Lunch. Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Alan Ansen arrived for a visit and went on with the transcribing. Burroughs became better acquainted with Paul Bowles, his wife, Jane Bowles, and Brion Gysin. A stay in Denmark with Kells Elvins. Kerouac’s novel, On The Road, was published. The first extracts from Naked Lunch appeared in the Black Mountain Review.
1959 Burroughs lived in a room at the Beat-Hotel. In July, Maurice Girodias – now after all interested in Naked Lunch after the scandal around Big Table in the USA – required that he should deliver the print-ready manuscript for publication within a mere 10 days. Gysin and Beiles helped Burroughs to edit the final version. Burroughs met Ian Sommerville.
1960 In March, Burroughs left Paris and lieved in London. He was working on Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded and Nova Express. Ian Sommerville developed the Dreamachine based on an idea of Brion Gysin. The first Cut-Up collaborations: Minutes To Go (Paris) and The Exterminator (San Francisco) were published.
1961 In the summer, Burroughs, Sommerville, Portman, Ansen, Ginsberg, Orlovsky, Corso, Gysin, Bowles and finally Leary arrived in Tangiers. Burroughs made his first assemblage and began to compile Scrapbooks.
1962 Kells Elvins had died in New York. Burroughs took part in the International Literary Conference in Edinburgh. Naked Lunch was published by Grove Press. The Ticket That Exploded, the second part of the Cut-Up Trilogy, was published by Olympia Press. Burroughs shot the film, Towers Open Fire, with Antony Balch.
1963 In summer 1963, Burroughs was in Tangiers with Sommerville and PortmanAntony Balch shot a short film, William Buys A Parrot.
1965 Burroughs and Gysin in New York. They worked there intensively on The Third Mind. Burroughs gave a reading in Wynn Chamberlain’s flat at 222 Bowery for an audience of about 130, among them Frank O’Hara, Diane Arbus, Larry Rivers, Barnett Newman, Richard Avedon and Andy Warhol.
1966 In January, Burroughs went back to London and lived with Ian Sommerville in the Hotel Rushmore. Sommerville was working in a recording studio owned by Paul McCartney. That was also where Burroughs continued his recording experiments. On July 7, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared Naked Lunch to be “not obscene” and therefore could be sold in the United States; with this finding, it abolished the censorship of literature. Burroughs lived in a flat in Dalmeney Court near Piccadilly Circus. Daevid Allen founded the rock band, Soft Machine, in London.
1967 Burroughs began working on his next novel, The Wild Boys. He developed an interest in Scientology and one he had enough of Scientology.
1968 The magazine, Esquire, invited Burroughs, together with Jean Genet, Terry Southern and Allen Ginsberg, to report on the the Democratic Party Convention and the protests. In New York, he met Jack Kerouac for the last time. In London, Burroughs was living with the “Dilly Boy” John Brady.
1971 The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead was published by Grove Press in New York, and The Electronic Revolution by Blackmoor Head Press in Cambridge in a run of only 450 copies.
1972 Burroughs and Balch made the color film, Bill and Tony. Steely Dan, a rock group from Los Angeles that and took its name from Naked Lunch, published their first LP.
1974 Final return to the United States. Burroughs met James Grauerholz, who was to be his secretary and manager for the next 22 years.
1975 Burroughs began to write his new novel, Cities of the Red Night.
1976 February 5, Burroughs’ birthday, news reached him that Ian Sommerville had died in a car accident. In June, he moved into the Bunker, a large, windowless room at 222 Bowery, New York.

The Nova Convention. As a celebration of Burroughs and his work, there were performances and readings by Allen Ginsberg, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Anne Waldmann, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Ed Sanders, Frank Zappa, Patti Smith, and Timothy Leary, among others.

1980 Burroughs was writing The Place of Dead Roads and was very often on the road giving readings; one of these took him to Lawrence, Kansas, where Grauholz was studying.
1981 His son, Billy Burroughs, died, aged 33. Antony Balch died in London. With the Bunker rent doubled, Burroughs decided to move with Grauerholz to Lawrence, Kansas. Cities of the Red Night was published.
1982 Burroughs bought a house at 1927 Learnard Avenue, in East-Lawrence. In October, Burroughs traveled to London to take part in The Final Academy with Gysin.
1983 Burroughs was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Burroughs and John Giorno were accompanied by Grauerholz on a reading tour through Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Howard Brookner’s documentary film, Burroughs, was premiered at the New York Film Festival. The Place of Dead Roads was published.
1984 In Paris, Burroughs was made a Commandeur de l’Art et des Lettres.
1985 Burroughs traveled to Tangiers for the last time. He worked on his last novel The Western Lands. Queer was published.
1986 Burroughs went on a European tour and gave readings in France and Federal Republic of Germany. On 13 July, Brion Gysin died, aged 70. His death was a heavy blow for Burroughs.
1987 River City Reunion, a Beat Generation Poetry Festival in Lawrence, Kansas, with Ed Sanders, Diane di Prima, Ed Dorn, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Faithfull, Timothy Leary, John Giorno, Jim Carroll, Robert Creeley, and many others appearing. The Western Lands, was published. Burroughs discovered the Shotgun Art. The first solo exhibition was presented at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York in December.
1989 Burroughs had a part in Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboys. Numerous art exhibitions.
1990 Performance of The Black Rider, The Casting of the Magic Bullets, a music-theater by Robert Wilson’s, with music by Tom Waits and texts by Burroughs.
In the 1990s Burroughs underwent a triple bypass operation and suffered a fracture of the pelvis a short time later. He lived in his house and garden on Learnard – or as he called it – Learn Hard Avenue, attended by friends and voluntary helpers. He took care of his cats, received visitors from all over the world, and regularly went out to the country to shoot.
1997 On April 5, Allen Ginsberg died in New York, aged 71. William S. Burroughs died August 2, aged 83.