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WILLIAM BURROUGHS by Barry Miles

WILLIAM BURROUGHS

El Hombre Invisible

By Barry Miles

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56282-848-7
Publisher: Hyperion

 Fawning and klutzy, with the critical and grammatical skills of the average college sophomore book report (``Just because Burroughs appropriates characters or even chunks of text from someone else's book, this does not mean they are an influence on him, though it probably does mean that he likes their work''), Miles (Allen Ginsberg, 1989) slaps Burroughs's life and spotty works down into a sandwich of no-brainer Zeitgeist-y approval (``Lauren Hutton introduced him on Saturday Night Live in December 1981 as `in my opinion the greatest living writer' ''), buying-in wholesale to Burroughs's off-the-cuff and self-resolving ``theories'' (``legal cannabis was prescribed for paranoia: cannabis is illegal, therefore users suffer from the paranoia that they will get busted. The paranoia is cured by prescribing it legally'') and serving up bare-bones facts about his grotesque and slavishly addicted life that can be more intelligibly constellated from Oliver Harris's volume of Burroughs's early letters (p. 566). More an extended and semiliterate fan-gush than a biography; for a far more satisfying look at Burroughs's life, see Ted Morgan's Literary Outlaw (1988). (B&w photographs)