Columbia University currently has an online exhibit of essayist and avant-garde novelist William S. Buroughs (1914-1997), who scribed The Naked Lunch, Junky, and Queer, titled ‘Naked Lunch’: The First Fifty Years.
After graduating from Harvard in 1936, Burroughs traveled in Europe, attended graduate courses in psychology and anthropology at Columbia (1937-38) and Harvard. In the early 1940s he worked as an exterminator in Chicago, then moved in summer 1943 to New York City. He met Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac through a mutual friend from St. Louis, Lucien Carr. Burroughs traveled widely during the 1950s and early 1960s, as did Kerouac and Ginsberg, and they developed a close and significant friendship through sustained and intense correspondence as they moved from New York to Mexico City, Paris, Tangier, London, and beyond.
By the early 1960s their works would come to characterize the Beat Generation—indeed, Ginsberg’s Howl, and other poems(1956), Kerouac’s On the Road (1958), and Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959) stand today as the most significant and influential avant-garde works of the period. Burroughs’s career as a writer was characterized by ongoing experimentation and he produced a series of writings that expanded upon the techniques he discovered during the composition of his most well known and critically admired work, Naked Lunch.
Manuscripts, photographs, movies and an in depth look into Burrough’s works can be found, without ever having to leave the house.
Visit ‘Naked Lunch: The First Fifty Years’ for the exhibit.