Month: November 2010

My Goals for Knowledge Lost

Posted November 26, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

My wife and I decided to look at our goals in life and what we would like to achieve as a couple and individually in the next one to five years. Of course, my dream involve writing & my blog. It is obvious that I would need to put in a lot of work and study into achieving my goals and that’s fine, but I feel like I’ve come up with a plan to help build towards these goals.

Knowledge Lost has primarily been about my personal growth in Art, Culture, Philosophy and Literature. I feel that if I want to be able to able to get a job or do something related to these topics, I might want to learn how to teach people about them.  As you may be aware there are four little windows across the top of my blog which have been used to display the most recent post in the four primary topics of my blog. What I’m planning to do is change that; I’m going to transform them into launching pads for a basic lesson in the four topics of my blog. This way I’m still learning and I’m also compiling an action plan for my future, just in case I ever get the opportunity. This also starts me building material for possible ebooks in the future.

This is going to be hard to do and will take a lot of work, but I would love to know if anyone has a wealth of knowledge in Art, Culture, Philosophy and Literature. I don’t want to have these turn in to personal opinions and would love to have someone I could ask for advice and bounce ideas off in regards to these issues. This will be a workin progress for me but will make a big change to me and my blog.

William S. Burroughs & Surrealist Writing Methods

Posted November 19, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature, Writing / 2 Comments

Post-modern author, William S. Burroughs is best known for his experimental writing style.  He was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major influence in popular culture as well as literature.

In 1959, he released Naked Lunch which he described as “Automatic writing gone horribly wrong”. Previously, I have posted about Automatism, but it is a process of writing where the writer tries to avoid conscious thoughts.  Burroughs has said that Naked Lunch wasn’t a book he wanted to write, but he had no choice but write it: he couldn’t write anything else.  When it came to using André Breton’s method of automatism; where the subconscious focuses on one image or phase, Burroughs found his subconscious was taken over by a hostile entity. The results speaks for its self, Naked Lunch is not only full of obscene language but completely weird.

William S. Burroughs moved to Paris in the 1960’s where he met a painter named Brion Gysin. The two of them are often credited for rediscovering an old surrealist method known as Cut-up. This technique is when you take a finished piece of text, cut it up and rearrange it for a completely new novel. Burroughs experimented with this technique, which resulted in The Nova Trilogy; also known as The Cut-up Trilogy. The first book in the trilogy, The Soft Machine, was the result of the two on a journey (with the aid of some recreational drugs) to find hidden meanings in Naked Lunch. Using the cut-up technique, Burroughs wanted to find the answer to the question that had been plaguing him; the question of control; why did he have no control over the writing of Naked Lunch? The Soft Machine was first published with 182 pages; though in the second edition Burroughs removed 82 pages, replacing them with another 82 pages & with the other 100 pages, he rearranged and restructured using further cut-ups.

William S. Burroughs will always be known for his Beat influences, political trenchancies, cultural influences, his satirical writing and hopefully his experimental use of surrealist writing methods.

Olympia Press; Controversy & Erotic Fiction

Posted November 16, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 4 Comments

It’s hard to imagine a life without a freedom to talk openly about sex. Before the sexual revolution things were completely different and there were two publishers that pushed the boundaries. In 1929 an English man named Jack Kahane formed Obelisk Press, based out of Paris. His goal was to publish books other publishers would not touch for fear of prosecution. Though Obelisk Press went bankrupt, it paved the way for dbs (dirty books) later known as Erotic Fiction. Obelisk Press published books like Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, DH Lawrance’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover & James Joyce’s Haveth Childers Everywhere (often considered a working progress of Finnegans Wake).

While Jack Kahane laid the ground work, it was his son Maurice Girodias, who pushed the envelope on censorship. In 1953 Maurice started Olympia Press, a rebranded Obelisk Press which came under fire straight away for Austryn Wainhouse’s English translations of Marquis de Sade’s Justine. In a move that put Olympia Press under a lot more fire, Maurice started offering good money for dbs, though most of these books were eventually banned they were able to make a small profit before being removed from the shelves. Obelisk Press were responsible for such books like Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs & The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy.

Though both publishers ended in bankruptcy, they did pave the way with controversy and erotic fiction in English literature. Apart from the controversy it start the ball rolling for other authors and took the risk in publishing book others wouldn’t. What would books be like nowadays if no one printed books like Lolita, The Naked Lunch or James Joyce’s works?