Title page for ETD etd-11102011-133823

Type of Document Dissertation
Author LeBret, John
URN etd-11102011-133823
Title Writing William Burroughs, Performing the Archive
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Ruth Laurion Committee Chair
Fletcher, John Committee Member
Shaffer, Tracy Stephenson Committee Member
Suchy, Patricia Committee Member
Demastes, William Dean's Representative
  • creative
  • William Burroughs
  • Cut up
  • archive
  • performance
  • writing
  • performative writing
Date of Defense 2011-10-11
Availability unrestricted
Between 1958 and 1972, author William S. Burroughs undertook a series of radical experiments with alternative compositional modes based on the aleatory form of the Cut-up. Burroughs sold the entirety of his work from the period, assembled into an archive, to a collector in 1972. This study uses performative writing to document a year of archival research in Burroughs' collection, currently housed by The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at the New York Public Library. Melding Bakhtin's theories of the chronotope and the grotesque body with creative writing and experimental modes of scholarly production as praxis, I theorize archival research as a uniquely embodied practice. By exploring themes of history, biography, documentation, and discovery, this project identifies Burroughs' use of the Cut-up as a mode of aesthetic collaboration and offers it as a pedagogical model for future critical/creative scholarship.
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