William Burroughs Quotes

Hemingway was a prisoner of his style. No one can talk like the characters in Hemingway except the characters in Hemingway. His style in the wildest sense finally killed him.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "A Word to the Wise Guy," The Adding Machine (1985).
Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "Civilian Defense," The Adding Machine (1985).
The face of "evil" is always the face of total need.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Evergreen Review (Jan./Feb. 1960). Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness (1959). The essay was later published as the introduction to The Naked Lunch in the 1962 edition.
A functioning police state needs no police.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Dr. Benway, in "Benway," The Naked Lunch (1959).
Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Interview, The South Bank Show, LWT (April 12, 1992).
The exact objectives of Islam Inc. are obscure. Needless to say everyone involved has a different angle, and they all intend to cross each other up somewhere along the line.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "Islam Inc. And the Parties of Interzone," The Naked Lunch (1959).
A junky runs on junk time. When his junk is cut off, the clock runs down and stops. All he can do is hang on and wait for non-junk time to start.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Junkie, ch. 10 (1953).
There is the pleasurable orgasm, like a rising sales graph, and there is the unpleasurable orgasm, slumping ominously like the Dow Jones in 1929.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "My Experiences with Wilhelm Reich's Orgone Box," The Adding Machine (1985).
Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. "My Own Business," The Adding Machine (1985).
I think the ideal situation for a family is to be completely incestuous.
William Burroughs (b. 1914), U.S. author. Taped conversation, 1980, New York City. "On Dreams," Victor Bockris, With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker (1981).