|Author||William S. Burroughs|
|Series||The Nova Trilogy|
The Soft Machine is a 1961 novel by American author William S. Burroughs. It was originally composed using the cut-up technique partly from manuscripts belonging to The Word Hoard . It is the first part of The Nova Trilogy .
A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, normally written in prose form, and which is typically published as a book.
William Seward Burroughs II was an American writer and visual artist. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films. He was also briefly known by the pen name William Lee. Burroughs created and exhibited thousands of paintings and other visual art works, including his celebrated 'Gunshot Paintings'.
The cut-up technique is an aleatory literary technique in which a written text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text. The concept can be traced to at least the Dadaists of the 1920s, but was popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs, and has since been used in a wide variety of contexts.
The title The Soft Machine is a name for the human body, and the main theme of the book (as explicitly written in an appendix added to the 1968, British edition) concerns how control mechanisms invade the body.
The book is written in a style close to that of Naked Lunch , employing third-person singular indirect recall, though now using the cut-up method.
Naked Lunch is a novel by American writer William S. Burroughs, originally published in 1959. The book is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. The reader follows the narration of junkie William Lee, who takes on various aliases, from the U.S. to Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the dreamlike Interzone.
After the main material follow three appendices in the British edition, the first explaining the title (as mentioned above) and two accounts of Burroughs' own drug abuse and treatment using apomorphine. Here Burroughs clearly states that he considers drug abuse a metabolic disease and writes about how he finally escaped it.
Apomorphine (brand names Apokyn, Ixense, Spontane, Uprima) is a type of aporphine having activity as a non-selective dopamine agonist which activates both D2-like and, to a much lesser extent, D1-like receptors. It also acts as an antagonist of 5-HT2 and α-adrenergic receptors with high affinity. The compound is historically a morphine decomposition product made by boiling morphine with concentrated acid, hence the -morphine suffix. Apomorphine does not actually contain morphine or its skeleton, nor does it bind to opioid receptors. The apo- prefix relates to it being a morphine derivative ("[comes] from morphine").
The main plot appears in linear prose in chapter VII, The Mayan Caper. This chapter portrays a secret agent who has the ability to change bodies or metamorphose his own body using "U.T." (undifferentiated tissue). As such an agent he makes a time travel machine and takes on a gang of Mayan priests who use the Mayan calendar to control the minds of slave laborers used for planting maize. The calendar images are written in books and placed on a magnetic tape and transmitted as sounds to control the slaves. The agent manages to infiltrate the slaves and replace the magnetic tape with a totally different message: "burn the books, kill the priests", which causes the downfall of their regime.
Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in time, analogous to movement between different points in space by an object or a person, typically using a hypothetical device known as a time machine. Time travel is a widely-recognized concept in philosophy and fiction. The idea of a time machine was popularized by H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine.
The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. This region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain.
The Maya calendar is a system of calendars used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and in many modern communities in the Guatemalan highlands, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.
The characters of the Soft Machine fall into three categories:
Henry Kuttner was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Jack Black (1871–1932) was a hobo and professional burglar. Born in 1871 near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he was raised from infancy in the U.S. state of Missouri. He wrote You Can't Win, a memoir or sketched autobiography describing his days on the road and life as an outlaw. Black's book was written as an anti-crime book urging criminals to go straight, but it is also his statement of belief in the futility of prisons and the criminal justice system, hence the title of the book. Jack Black was writing from experience, having spent thirty years as a traveling criminal and offers tales of being a cross-country stick-up man, home burglar, petty thief, and opium fiend. He gained fame through association with William S. Burroughs, and his writings had a profound effect on the writings and lives of all the Beat Generation.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work.
The Soft Machine has been printed in four different editions, the first three revised by the author, the last by Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris.
Burroughs himself was very displeased with the first edition and this was the main reason for rewriting it so thoroughly: in 1961 he wrote to his friend Allen Ginsberg that he rewrote it extensively while he was working on Dead Fingers Talk , mostly because he was displeased with the balance of cut-up and more linear material. However, his revised editions included much new cut-up material as well as more conventional prose.
This section needs to be updated.January 2018)(
The novel was subject to an obscenity trial in Turkey in 2011. Sel Yayıncılık and the novel's Turkish translator faced obscenity charges after the release of the book, due to alleged "incompliance with moral norms" and “hurting people’s moral feelings.”Sel Yayıncılık and the books’ translators face three more years of uncertainty after the judge pronounced that the trial would be postponed until 2015, due to the implementation of new legislation. Meanwhile, the judge warned that if either of the publishing houses or the translators were foolish enough to publish further ‘obscene’ works, these cases would be added to the charge sheet.
English rock and jazz band Soft Machine, from Canterbury, named themselves after the book, when they formed in mid-1966.
Brion Gysin was a painter, writer, sound poet, and performance artist born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.
Nova Express is a 1964 novel by American author William S. Burroughs. It was written using the 'fold-in' method, a version of the cut-up method, developed by Burroughs with Brion Gysin, of enfolding snippets of different texts into the novel. It is part of The Nova Trilogy, or "Cut-Up Trilogy,' together with The Soft Machine and The Ticket That Exploded. Burroughs considered the trilogy a "sequel" or "mathematical" continuation of Naked Lunch.
Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature which focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways.
Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1947. Imprints include: Black Cat, Evergreen, Venus Library, and Zebra. Barney Rosset purchased the company in 1951 and turned it into an alternative book press in the United States. He partnered with Richard Seaver to bring French literature to the United States. The Atlantic Monthly Press, under the aegis of its publisher, Morgan Entrekin, merged with Grove Press in 1991. Grove later became an imprint of the publisher Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
The Ticket That Exploded is a 1962 novel by American author William S. Burroughs, published by Olympia Press and later by Grove Press in 1967. Together with The Soft Machine and Nova Express it is part of a trilogy, referred to as The Nova Trilogy, created using the cut-up technique, although for this book Burroughs used a variant called 'the fold-in' method. The novel is an anarchic tale concerning mind control by psychic, electronic, sexual, pharmaceutical, subliminal, and other means. Passages from the other two books and even from this book show up in rearranged form and are often repeated. This work is significant for fans of Burroughs, in that it describes his idea of language as a virus and his philosophy of the cut-up technique. Also, it features the cut-up technique being used by characters within the story. The Ticket That Exploded lays the groundwork for Burroughs' ideas of social revolution through technology, which he would later detail in his book-length essay The Electronic Revolution.
Dead Fingers Talk, first published in 1963, was the fifth novel published by Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs. The book was originally published by John Calder in association with Olympia Press.
The Yage Letters, first published in 1963, is a collection of correspondence and other writings by Beat Generation authors William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. It was issued by City Lights Books.
The Word Hoard was a large body of text produced by author William S. Burroughs between roughly 1954 and 1958.
The Nova Trilogy or The Cut-up Trilogy is a name commonly given by critics to a series of three experimental novels by William S. Burroughs: The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded (1962, revised 1967) and Nova Express (1964). Like Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine derived in part from The Word Hoard, a number of manuscripts Burroughs wrote mainly in Tangier, between 1954 and 1958.
Ali's Smile: Naked Scientology is a collection of essays and a short story by American Beat writer William S. Burroughs (1914–97). First published in 1971 as the short story "Ali's Smile", the book eventually contained a group of previously published newspaper articles as well, all of which address Scientology. Burroughs had been interested in Scientology throughout the 1960s, believing that its methods might help combat a controlling society. He joined the Church of Scientology later in the decade. However, he became disenchanted with the authoritarian nature of the organization. In 1970 Burroughs had published a "considered statement" on Scientology's methods because he felt they were significant enough to warrant commentary. These pieces were later gathered together into Ali's Smile: Naked Scientology, which religious studies scholar Hugh B. Urban describes as a "nonscholarly popular exposé of Scientology". Burroughs's texts argue that while some of Scientology's therapies are worthwhile, the dogmatic nature of the group and its secrecy are harmful.
Experimental literature refers to written work—usually fiction or poetry—that emphasizes innovation, most especially in technique.
The Third Mind is a book by Beat Generation novelist William S. Burroughs and artist/poet/novelist Brion Gysin. First published in a French-language edition in 1977, it was published in English in 1978. It contains numerous short fiction pieces as well as poetry by Gysin, and an interview with Burroughs. Some chapters had previously been published in various literary journals between 1960 and 1973.
Tarzan: The Lost Adventure is a novel by American writer Joe R. Lansdale, based on an incomplete fragment of a Tarzan novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs which had been left unfinished at his death. The book was serialized in four parts by Dark Horse Comics, before being published as a single volume in 1995.
An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. It is derived from the Latin obscaena (offstage) a cognate of the Ancient Greek root skene, because some potentially offensive content, such as murder or sex, was depicted offstage in classical drama. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as "obscene profits" or "the obscenity of war". As a legal term, it usually refers to graphic depictions of people engaged in sexual and excretory activity.
Call Me Burroughs is a spoken word album by Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs, which was released on LP by The English Bookshop, Paris, in June 1965, and then issued in the United States by ESP-Disk, New York, in 1966. Rhino Word Beat reissued the album on Compact Disc in 1995, the company's first ever reissue.
Sel Yayıncılık is an independent publishing company based in Istanbul, Turkey. It was established in 1990, and publishes both original Turkish books and translations of world literature, and both fiction and non-fiction.
The obscenity trial over the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses in The Little Review, an American literary magazine, occurred in 1921 and effectively banned publication of Joyce's novel in the United States. After The Little Review published the "Nausicaa" episode of Ulysses in the 1920 July–August issue of the magazine, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice instigated obscenity charges against Little Review editors Margaret Caroline Anderson and Jane Heap. The editors were found guilty under laws associated with the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it illegal to circulate materials deemed obscene in the U.S. mail. Anderson and Heap incurred a $100 fine, and were forced to cease publishing Ulysses in The Little Review.