Tag Archives: American literature

RIP Nick Tosches (1949 – 2019)

Nick Tosches  was an American writer, music critic, biographer, a jack of all trades.

I admit that although he had had an entry on my encyclopedia since 2008, I didn’t really know Nick Tosches.

He seems to have been a bit of a drug head, as Burroughs had been before him.

He was into country music and rock, a bit of a rockist it would appear.

He died relatively young.

I give you “Erebos” [above], a spoken word track from Fuck The Living Fuck The Dead (2004).

RIP Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

Toni Morrison was a American writer perhaps best-known for her novel Beloved (1987).

Beloved has been banned from five U.S. schools since 2007. Common reasons for censorship include bestialityinfanticidesex, and violence.

Perhaps an offending passage is this one, in which Sethe pays the tombstone engraver with sex:

“You got ten minutes I’ll do it for free.

Ten minutes for seven letters. With another ten could she have gotten “Dearly” too? She had not thought to ask him and it bothered her still that it might have been possible–that for twenty minutes, a half hour, say, she could have had the whole thing, every word she heard the preacher say at the funeral (and all there was to say, surely) engraved on her baby’s headstone: Dearly Beloved.”

Margaret Atwood in Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose: 1983-2005 (2009) remarks:”Sethe wanted “Dearly Beloved [on the tombstone],” from the funeral service, but had only enough strength to pay for one word. Payment was ten minutes of sex with the tombstone engraver.”

‘Beloved’ film trailer

William Burroughs @100

William S. Burroughs would have celebrated his centennial tonight had he not died one summer day in 1997. I haven’t read all that much by Burroughs (I haven’t read all that much, actually), although over the summer I bought a second hand battered version of Queer in Turkey, which I enjoyed a lot and a couple of years ago in the Pyrenees I read Cities of the Red Night.

And of course I’ve seen Cronenberg’s film adaption of Naked Lunch.

There is one citation which nicely sums up his work. Burroughs is talking:

“‘Nihilism, unrelieved despair and negationmisanthropypessimism‘ – very much the same set of clichés that greeted Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night, which to my mind is a very funny book, in a picaresque tradition stretching back to Petronius and to The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe. I have always seen my own work in the light of the picaresque – a series of adventures and misadventures, horrific and comic, encountered by an antihero.” 

 And then there is this hilarious film fragment he did with Antony BalchThe Cut-Ups, which surprise, surprise is still up on Youtube: