Document Type

Research Paper


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.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Love in literature


Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997--Criticism and interpretation








To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.