02/05/2015 10:49 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

William S. Burroughs At 100: Rebel, Junkie, Exile, Genius

The American writer, painter and spoken-word pioneer William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago Wednesday, on Feb. 5, 1914, in St. Louis. He died — after an improbably long life, considering the self-inflicted abuse he endured through the years — at 83 in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s somehow perversely appropriate that an iconoclast of Burroughs’ power and scope — an artist who so brutally skewered middle-class hypocrisy in so many of his works — lived a life that began and ended in the middle of middle America.

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