William S[eward] Burroughs (b. 5 February 1914, St. Louis, Missouri, USA; d. 3 August 1997, Lawrence, Kansas, USA). American writer of experimental fiction, essays and autobiographical texts; mixed-media visual artist, experimental filmmaker and sound collagist.

Burroughs was born into an upper-middle-class Midwestern family shortly before the outbreak of World War I. His Yankee paternal grandfather helped to perfect the adding machine, while his Southern maternal uncle did public relations for John D. Rockefeller and Adolf Hitler; later, information technology, media manipulation and politico-economic despotism would be among the most regular targets of Burroughs’ aggressive satire. Through adolescence his emerging homosexuality made him a loner, especially at the Los Alamos Ranch

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Citation: Murphy, Timothy S.. "William Burroughs". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=662, accessed 13 July 2024.]

662 William Burroughs 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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