Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 36, William S. Burroughs

paris_review.35Following up on my recent posts on Burroughs, I came across this interview with him in the Paris Review of 1965. This confirms my suspicion that Burroughs was a moralist.

INTERVIEWER

Mary McCarthy has characterized you as a soured utopian. Is that accurate?

BURROUGHS

I do definitely mean what I say to be taken literally, yes, to make people aware of the true criminality of our times, to wise up the marks. All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design, on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable. Like the advertising people we talked about, I’m concerned with the precise manipulation of word and image to create an action, not to go out and buy a Coca-Cola, but to create an alteration in the reader’s consciousness.

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