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Abstract

William Burroughs, his life and works, have a set beginning and end, but the biological and spiritual connections he draws between language, sound, and the human body appear to have undefined points of origin. Sound has always been. Language has always been. To exist outside of language and sound is to exist outside of time and space and thus outside the body. Burroughs’ theories on language, the word, and their connection to the body are woven through texts filled with structural and narrative convolutions. ­ Nova Trilogy, especially The Ticket that Exploded, as well as the early novel Naked Lunch, establish a biological link between sex and sound, both musical, in instances of consumptive love. However, in the later trilogy, including books such as the Western Lands, love moves away from the body; despite the continued use of music and sound, the concept of love separates and becomes linked to the image of the cat. Th­is shift demonstrates Burroughs’ understanding of society’s control system, as projected through morals, economy, and the notion of individuality, and suggests how the fight to escape these systems shaped Burroughs’ ideas of what love could or might actually be.

 

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