Category Archives: Literature

Notes on David S. Wills: Burroughs on Civilisation, Hallucination, and Telepathy

For William Burroughs, the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a dividing point in history, marking the moment that Western civilisation finally ended. Could you really call a people capable of such an atrocity “civilised”? And so without civilisation, … Continue reading

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Beats and Hippos

And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks is an early work of the Beat Generation, written in the winter of 1944-45 by William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac together, or separately in that they take it in turns throughout the … Continue reading

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Zipporah

Life into art: taking what you find, a smokestack or a button, and finding what is abstract in it, and thereby transmuting it into art. Miller, of course, the great example. Even in a button you can find the stuff … Continue reading

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Meaningless to Whom, Exactly?

An artist is someone who sees something that others don’t. And then makes that thing visible, in their work, for others to see. What the artist sees is something that did not exist before it was observed by the artist. … Continue reading

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Scrooge

“ … It was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” Christmas would also be a serious time, for Scrooge. He would remember that night of his sudden … Continue reading

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You must be ecstatic

In The Night Manager, Madame Latulipe asks Jonathan if he is in love. “Not that I am aware, madame,” he replies. “You are unhappy? You are lonely?” “I am blissfully content.” “But to be content is not enough! You must … Continue reading

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The Enjoyment in Writing

Past, present, and future are bound together when Henry Miller is writing. “The past is the springboard, the present the melting pot, and the future the delectation.” The past is the springboard because it is from the memories of his … Continue reading

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Orpheus

Orpheus is playing his lyre with tears in his eyes, begging the rulers of the underworld to return Eurydice to him. All Pluto and Persephone want is to be rid of those dewy eyes, tearing at their heart strings. They … Continue reading

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Building

“We have no need for genius – genius is dead. We have need for strong hands …” How to start writing? Take a building block and set it down. It is Paris, 1930 perhaps, and a day in the life … Continue reading

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See What I’m Saying

First sentence of William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys: “The camera is the eye of a cruising vulture flying over an area of scrub, rubble and unfinished buildings on the outskirts of Mexico City.” Burroughs thinks in pictures and his books … Continue reading

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