A Voice that Hums

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Today, the Beats hold a noteworthy place in the American literary tradition, but there was a time when their work was met with resistance. A piece published by The New Yorker focuses on the life and work of one of the Beats in particular: William S. Burroughs.

Burroughs “brought to social notice themes of drug use, homosexuality, hyperbolic violence, and anti-authoritarian paranoia” with his novel Naked Lunch, but is this the reason we still read him today? Schjeldahl argues that we continue to read Burroughs for his literary voice.


Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →