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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turkish prosecutors investigate William S. Burroughs

The Istanbul Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation into William S. Burroughs' novel, The Soft Machine. Burroughs was a friend of Robert Anton Wilson. Wilson used Burroughs' cut-up prose technique in ILLUMINATUS! and other works.

The Prime Ministry's Council for Protecting Minors from Explicit Publications has levied a number of accusations against The Soft Machine. My favorites are the claims that the book "lacks narrative unity" and has a "fragmented narrative style." The publisher of the book is maintaining that lack of narrative unity is not a crime under Turkish law.

Via @tedgioia on Twitter.


Anonymous said...

I think they should be doing something more important, like lack of dramatic unities in the Twilight books.

Mike said...

As I understand it, the cut-up technique may be more accurately attributed to Burrough's friend Brion Gysin.

And on the lack of narrative unity, I think it's interesting to note that mainstream Hollywood storylines make very little sense whatsoever. They appear to be linear and straight-forward yet if you look at the characters and their actions, the motivations just don't jibe. Phantom Menace lacked any sort of narrative unity. When something is purporting to be quite logical and it isn't the effect is even more subtly disturbing than when it obvious doesn't make straight sense.