SF: Given his influence on Magickal theory and practice (The Cut-Up, Third Mind, Dream Machine and his writing) who would you say was William’s largest influence? Crowley, Spare, none of the above?
JG: Pardon me but I don’t see many direct influences by William’s thought upon Magickal theory — the other way around, heavens, yes.
But Burroughs considered Crowley a bit of a figure of fun, referring to him as “The Greeeaaaaaat BEEEEAST!” in that behind-closed-doors, queeny comic delivery he used sometimes: his voice rising straight up in pitch, into an hysterical falsetto. You can hear it in lots of tapes, I’m pretty sure.
William knew quite a bit about Crowley’s life and work, and he certainly dug deep into the Necronomicon (anonymous but often attributed to Crowley) when it became available in a snazzy, black-morocco, tooled-leather hardback binding. He appreciated much about Aleister Crowley. Influenced by him? I don’t really see it. And to be truthful, I knew more about Austin Osman Spare than William did, in the beginning.
Pop Damage: Taking the broooooaaaaad view of things: A Conversation with James Grauerholz on William S. Burroughs and Magick
Hrrmm, no one influenced Burroughs’s views on magic? What about Brion Gysin? And was Gysin familiar with Spare?
Interesting interview none the less.
September 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm
Cities of the Red Night, Page 122, showed that he’d at least read some Golden Dawn.