Retaking the Universe

Retaking the Universe : William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization

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William S. Burroughs is one of America's most influential and widely studied writers. A leading member of the Beat movement, his books and essays continue to attract a wide readership. His films, paintings, recordings and other projects that grew out of his literary production, together with his iconic persona as a counter-culture (anti-)hero, mean his work has become a broad cultural phenomenon. This collection of essays by leading scholars offers an interdisciplinary consideration of Burroughs's art. It links his lived experience to his many major prose works written from 1953 on, as well his sound, cinema and media projects. Moving beyond the merely literary, the contributors argue for the continuing social and political relevance of Burroughs's work for the emerging global order. Themes include: Burroughs and contemporary theory; debates on 'reality'; violence; magic and mysticism; cybernetic cultures; language and technology; control and transformation; transgression and addiction; the limits of prose; image politics and the avant-garde.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 22mm | 480.82g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745320821
  • 9780745320823

About Davis Schneiderman

Davis Schneiderman is Chair of the American Studies Program and an Assistant Professor of English at Lake Forest College, Illinois. He is currently engaged in research on Burroughs' longtime collaborator. Brion Gysin. Philip Walsh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at the State University of New York, College at Cortland, where he teaches sociological theory. He is author of a forthcoming book from Palgrave entitled Skepticism and Modernity.
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Table of contents

Foreword: Jennie Skerl

Introduction: Millions of People Reading the Same Words - Davis Schneiderman

and Philip Walsh

PART I: Theoretical Depositions

1. Shift Coordinate Points: William S. Burroughs and Contemporary Theory -

Allen Hibbard

2. Exposing the Reality Film: William S. Burroughs Among the Situationists -

Timothy S. Murphy

3. Reactivating the Dialectic of Enlightenment: Burroughs as Critical

Theorist - Philip Walsh

4. Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control, and Rescriptive Subjectivity in

the Work of William S. Burroughs - Jason Morelyle

5. Excursus on Burroughs, Dada and Surrealism - Jon Longhi

PART II: Writing, Sign, Instrument: Language and Technology

6. Burroughs's Writing Machines - Anthony Enns

7. Totally Wired: Prepare Your Affidavits of Explanation - Edward Desautels

8. New World Ordure: Burroughs, Globalization and the Grotesque - Dennis


9. Nothing Hear Now but the Recordings: Burroughs's 'Double Resonance' -

Davis Schneiderman

10. Guerrilla Conditions: Burroughs, Gysin and Balch Go To The Movies -

Jamie Russell

11. Cutting Up Politics - Oliver Harris

PART III: Alternatives: Realities and Resistances

12. The Map and the Machine, reprint from The Garden and the Map (1973) -

John Vernon

13. The High Priest and The Great Beast at the Place of Dead Roads - Ron


14. A Camera on Violence: Reality and Fiction in Blade Runner: A Movie -

Roberta Fornari

15. William S. Burroughs: Laughter and Avant-Garde Strategies - Katherine


16. Lemurian Time War - Cybernetic Culture Research Unit

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Review quote

'These essays testify to the continuing relevance of Burroughs' words and project in the twenty-first century' -- Steven Shaviro, author of Doom Patrols and Connected 'El Hombre Invisible goes global. Thanks to Schneiderman and Walsh's Retaking the Universe, Burroughs finally manages to storm the theory studio' -- Sylvere Lotringer, Editor of Semiotext(e) and Burroughs Live. 'The first serious and well conceived study of Burroughs' global influence' -- Victor Bockris 'Schneiderman's and Walsh's new collection should mark the beginning of a new and wider view of the contemporary implications of Burroughs's thought. This book is retaking the universe of Burroughsian interpretation - starting now' -- James Grauerholz
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Rating details

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