William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989

By Jennie Skerl; Robin Lydenberg | Go to book overview

10
The Algebra of Need Theodore Solotaroff

The Ticket That Exploded was written after Naked Lunch and as a sequel to it: "a mathematical extension of the Algebra of Need beyond the junk virus." It is only now being published in revised form in America, having been preceded by The Nova Express and The Soft Machine. If you have struggled through either of the latter, you are likely to find The Ticket to be more of the same "cut-up" account of the Nova Mob, the Nova Police, and the perversions of the future. Being an earlier version, however, as well as a less extreme experiment in pastiche, collage, and electronic writing, about which Burroughs has added a number of passages of commentary, The Ticket provides a somewhat clearer sense of what Burroughs is doing in this series of "blue" science fiction novels.

The basis of Burroughs' fiction from Naked Lunch forward has been his depiction of the endemic lusts of body and mind which prey on men, hook them, and turn them into beasts: the pushers as well as the pushed. His model of this condition is, of course, drug addiction: the junky being the creature of total need and hence of total vulnerability. He is controlled both biologically and socially--both by the insatiable demands of his body and by the ruthless economy of the drug market. As Burroughs puts it: "Junk is the ideal product . . . the ultimate merchandise. [. . .] The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client."

Burroughs' experience of this combination of physical and social control, through fifteen years in the cracks and gutters of society, has enabled him to envision a general state of being which, in earlier ages, was known and felt as Hell. In Naked Lunch he develops a series of brilliant improvisations, or "bits," in which the more fiendish tendencies that possess men and society are raised to the same power of "total need" as the drug addict's. In these sketches, impersonations, and fantasies, Burroughs acts out an inferno where everyone is turned on, each in his own way;

____________________

Theodore Solotaroff, "The Algebra of Need," The New Republic ( 5 Aug. 1967): 29-34. Copyright © 1967 by The New Republic, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

-85-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 282

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.