Burroughs, William Seward

Burroughs, William Seward
▪ 1998

      American writer (b. Feb. 5, 1914, St. Louis, Mo.—d. Aug. 2, 1997, Lawrence, Kan.), was the author of the notorious avant-garde novel Naked Lunch (1959). After graduating from Harvard University in 1936, Burroughs moved to New York City, where in the early 1940s he associated with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg (Ginsberg, Allen ) (q.v.), Neal Cassady, and others with whom he would be identified as a member of the Beat Generation. During this period Burroughs developed a heroin addiction that lasted into the 1960s. Despite his open homosexuality, he entered into a common-law marriage with Joan Vollmer in 1946; five years later, attempting a drunken stunt during a party in Mexico City, he shot and killed her. He fled Mexico and was never tried for the offense. Though ostensibly an accident, Burroughs was tormented by the idea that subconsciously he had desired her death; his remorse spurred him to devote himself to writing. His most famous novel, Naked Lunch, simulates nightmarish heroin-induced hallucinations through a variety of experimental techniques, including lack of narrative, stream of consciousness, and random ordering of story parts. The book was acclaimed (and also condemned) as a disturbing representation of existential alienation. Though Naked Lunch features explicit depictions of sex and violence, a legal attempt to ban it in the United States for obscenity failed, which cleared the way for more open treatment of such subject matter in literature. His next novels—The Soft Machine (1961), The Ticket That Exploded (1962), and Nova Express (1964)—employed his "cut-up" technique, in which quotations from unrelated sources were cut and randomly inserted into his own text. Few of his subsequent writings attracted significant attention. In later life Burroughs became an all-purpose avant-garde icon, appearing with rock musicians and in television advertisements and movies.

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▪ American inventor
born January 28, 1855, Auburn, New York, U.S.
died September 15, 1898, Citronelle, Alabama

      American inventor of the first recording adding machine (calculator) and pioneer of its manufacture.

 After a brief education Burroughs supported himself from the age of 15. In 1881 he began working in his father's shop in St. Louis, Missouri, constructing models for castings and working on new inventions. At that time he decided to construct a machine for solving arithmetical problems and, with financial help from an acquaintance, Thomas B. Metcalfe, completed his first calculating machine (1885), which, however, proved to be commercially impractical. But, with Metcalfe and two other St. Louis businessmen, he organized the American Arithmometer Company in 1886; after much trial and error he patented a practical model in 1892. (See the photograph—>.) Although the machine was a commercial success, he died before receiving much money from it. A year before his death he received the John Scott Medal of the Franklin Institute as an award for his invention. In 1905 the Burroughs Adding Machine Company was organized in Michigan as successor to the American Arithmometer Company.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Burroughs, William Seward — (1914–1997)    William S. Burroughs has been absolutely central to the history of Beat literature, and yet his position within the Beat Generation was paradoxical from the outset and has been revised significantly over time.    In relation to… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

  • Burroughs,William Seward — I. Burroughs1, William Seward. 1855 1898. American inventor who in the early 1890s designed and patented the first practical adding machine.   II. Burroughs2, William Seward. 1914 1997. American writer noted especially for Naked Lunch (1959), a… …   Universalium

  • William Seward Burroughs — William S. Burroughs William S. Burroughs Activité(s) Écrivain Naissance 5 février 1914 Saint Louis Décès 2 ao …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Seward Burroughs I — (January 281857 – September 141898) was an American inventor, born in Rochester, New York.Initially a bank clerk, he invented a calculating machine designed to ease the monotony of clerical work. He was a founder of the American Arithmometer… …   Wikipedia

  • William Seward Burroughs — kann sich beziehen auf: William Seward Burroughs I. (1857–1898), Erfinder einer Rechenmaschine und Firmengründer der Burroughs Corporation William S. Burroughs (1914–1997), Schriftsteller und Künstler, Enkel des Erstgenannten William S. Burroughs …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Seward Burroughs — may refer to:*William Seward Burroughs I (1857–1898), inventor of adding machine *William S. Burroughs (1914–1997), author and grandson of the above *William S. Burroughs, Jr. (1947–1981), author and son of the above …   Wikipedia

  • William Seward Burroughs — Уильям С. Берроуз William S. Burroughs Имя при рождении: Уильям Сьюард Берроуз II Псевдонимы: Уильям Ли Дата рождения: 5 февраля 1914 Место рождения: Сент Луис, США …   Википедия

  • William Seward Burroughs — n. (1855 1898) USA inventor of the 1st practical adding machine in 1892; William Seward Burroughs (1914 1997), USA author who wrote about the life of drug addicts, grandson of the inventor William Seward Burroughs …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Burroughs, William S. — ▪ American writer in full  William Seward Burroughs  born February 5, 1914, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. died August 2, 1997, Lawrence, Kansas       American writer of experimental novels that evoke, in deliberately erratic prose, a nightmarish,… …   Universalium

  • William Seward Burroughs — noun 1. United States writer noted for his works portraying the life of drug addicts (1914 1997) • Syn: ↑Burroughs, ↑William Burroughs, ↑William S. Burroughs • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author 2. United States inventor who patented the first… …   Useful english dictionary

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