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With William Burroughs: A Report From The Bunker
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With William Burroughs: A Report From The Bunker

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Burroughs, the eccentric, brilliant artist who burned the bridge with logic and wrote the classic Naked Lunch, has a court recorder in Victor Bockris. Bockris has collected into a cogent whole the man's most brilliant moments of conversation, thinking, and interview repartee. This fascinating material, gleaned from the fertile time at Burroughs's New York headquarters, the ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published by Grove/Atlantic (first published November 1st 1979)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  421 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Lynx
Victor Bockris and his tape recorder capture interesting conversations Burroughs had with an array of impressive minds such as Lou Reed, Alan Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and Susan Sontag to name a few. These excerpts cover an array of topics that Burroughs fans if given the opportunity to sit down with the man would ask including his writing methods, opinions on other authors, current events, and his personal life. Those looking for a more linear biography of Burroughs life and career ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker by Victor Bockris is a collection of interview notes from the 1970s and 1980s. Bockris is the author of several books on the people in the New York underground -- Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and John Cale. He wrote on the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, and Keith Richards.

Bockris is a man who was in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people. This is the second book of his I have read. The first was the unauthorized biography of
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Ok, I hope Bockris never reads this review b/c I don't really want to hurt anyone's feelings but I just HAVE TO SAY THIS: by this point in Burroughs' career every moronic parasite in the world was trying to attach theirself to him & this bk exemplifies that. Bokcris cd take the most brilliant subject & trivialize it thru gossip & name-dropping 'til you'd feel like puking. All of Bockris' bks shd just be called "If I Drop These Names Will I Be Famous TOO?!" I mean, why not just get to ...more
David Corvine
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could have done with less Bockris and more Burroughs but still a valuable source for students of WSB.
Michael
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: burroughs
Much important information for my lifelong study. Information about the Seavers popped up, the publishers/editors I tried to locate on my last trip to NYC. Ms. Seaver evidently still lives, though Mr. Seaver passed on about a decade ago. I was unsuccessful in tracking down Ms. Seaver, and I expect she resides in a special echelon that requires special credential access. The Seavers published my all-time favorite book by Burroughs: The Adding Machine. All these books piece together a puzzle that ...more
Matthew Langley
Burroughs from the fan-boy position - ok in parts but not extrodinary
Eric
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This marks the hipster-apex of Burroughs-related works. You'll get a sense of the era and the scene as much as any deep understanding of the man.
Dan
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interviews
Joan Lee: I’m shooting up your bug powder [...:] It’s a very literary high.
Bill Lee: What do you mean it’s a literary high?
Joan Lee: It’s a Kafka high. You feel like a bug.
(Dialogue from David Cronenberg’s film adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch).


“The only evidence that this conversation ever took place here is the recording, and if those recordings were altered, then that would be the only record.” (William Burroughs).

“Certainly of the Beat Generation, Bill was the one that no one
...more
Gregory Beaubien
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was first published in 1981 and I read it a few years later. Now I'm re-reading the book after more than 30 years and enjoying it a lot. With his notorious persona as a literary outlaw, it's easy to forget how intelligent and learned Burroughs was. "With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker" is formatted as an illustrated series of dinner conversations that Burroughs had during the late 1970s and early 1980s, mostly in New York, with a list of artistic luminaries from the period ...more
Greg
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, no
Robert
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice.
Gabriel Soll
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(full disclosure, I received a reviewer copy of this book, but that does not influence my review -- if it were horrible, I'd tell you).

This book is not for everyone...then again, neither is Burroughs. I believe that this book will illuminate some interesting back-story about the author and his mythos for those who would be interested to read it. While I find the personae fascinating (hell, medically he is a wonder that he survived) I don't know that this will hold the interest of someone who
...more
Richard Jespers
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed most of Burroughs’s nuggets about writing:

“Read and reread Conrad constantly—a gift of transmutation, like Genet.”


“Sinclair Lewis said if you have just written something you think is absolutely great and you can’t wait to publish it or show it to someone, throw it away.”


“Somerset Maugham said that the greatest asset that any writer can have is longevity.” “Involvement with his own image can be fatal to a writer.” “Creativity comes from a series of shocks in which you are forced to look
...more
Andy
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Burroughs fans
Every bit as entertaining as any novel by Uncle Bill, Victor Bockris leaves no stone unturned in his conversations with Burroughs. It's all here: the accidental death of his wife ("that gun was a piece of junk"), his cut-up writing methods, special consultant to beatnik movie "Heartbeat". He dishes the dirt on his fellow writers too: Genet, Robbe-Grillet, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, etc. There's a killer anecdote on every page, for real. Highly recommended.
Kirk Johnson
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book mostly eschews the interview approach, instead recording Burroughs' conversations and meetings with various celebrities and important persons of the day. While the book is full of sycophancy and while sometimes everyone brings the worst out in each other - an earlier conversation with Burroughs, Warhol, and Ginsberg is tragic - some of the conversations, especially those near the end, are almost enlightening.
Ryan
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sicophants, and psychofans too
thought this book was interesting just cause burroughs is interesting. then i realised it was written by a hanger-on, a scenester. forget that guy! thats my opinion.
Theo Lafleur
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
******
ProofProfessor
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really excellent book about Burroughs and his wide-ranging inner circle and followers - ideal as an introduction to the man's work and world view. I could not spot any editorial issues.
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4,719 followers
William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th ...more
“The simplest questions are the most difficult.” 27 likes
“My greatest strength is to have a great capacity to confront myself no matter how unpleasant. My greatest weakness is that I don't. I know that's enigmatic, but that's sort of a general formula for anyone, actually.” 26 likes
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