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William S. Burroughs
|William S. Burroughs|
William S. Burroughs at his 69th birthday in 1983.
February 5, 1914|
St. Louis, Missouri
August 2, 1997 (aged 83)|
|Pen name||William Lee|
|Occupation||Novelist, Short story writer, Essayist|
|Genres||Beat, science fiction, satire|
|Notable work(s)||Naked Lunch|
Ilse von Klapper (1937-1946)|
Joan Vollmer (1946-1951)
|Children||William S. Burroughs, Jr.|
William Seward Burroughs I, grandfather|
Ivy Lee, maternal uncle
Burroughs was a member of the family who owned the Burroughs Company. A family trust paid him an income, so he did not have to work a regular job. Sometimes he lived in Mexico and other countries, because he could live there in more luxury than in the United States. One favorite apartment he had in New York City was a windowless basement, nicknamed "Bill's " by his friends. Many of them were emerging writers and artists.
Burroughs told interesting, stories, but did not think he could be a writer. This changed as he came to terms with tragedy; he had killed his common law wife Joan, in an accident when they were both drunk. Burroughs began to write to work through his grief and feelings of guilt. He also abused drugs, including heroin, and it affected his writing. His first novel, Naked Lunch, was a surreal work.
Burroughs died of a heart attack.