"The Ticket That Exploded" is much less well known than "Naked Lunch". It originally came out a few years after "Naked Lunch" Burroughs' theory of language as virus was fully developed in this book. This book would make an interesting study in reception theory. It was not seen as a major event when published and is not well remembered today in spite of putting forward a fully developed theory of power in terms of a narrative which surfaced a language/virus which simultaneously provided the materials for the construction of subjectivities and the framework for regulating subjectivity through structural coupling to an image begotten by word which seemed to be "out there" as an a priori objective world. By 'surfacing", I mean creating a fictional world where the operations of language/virus were directly revealed by appearances and easily visible.
Foucault was pretty much unknown at this time. The strongest influence on Burroughs' theory of power seems to have been the theory of power put forth by Wilhelm Reich. Burroughs transformed this theory radically by presenting language as a system of control which operated by infecting the human host like a virus in order to reproduce and "personality" as largely made up of symptoms of this infection.
From: foucault-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxx on behalf of pong naiyavitit
Sent: Mon 4/3/2006 10:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Foucault-L] Williams S. Bourroughs and Foucault
'Word Virus' is a book. You may find it from amazon.com. The other work of Burroughs that talked about word as virus is in his book, named 'The Ticket That Exploaded'.
Fernando Williams <fernando.wg@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader is a book? Is interesting the connection you make between William and Foucault, especially about lenguage saying that the word is a virus. Lenguage can be tricky, I remember a quote from Foucault were he says that lenguage not only separate us from things but lenguage is the distance itself. Do you know how can I get a copy of "Word Virus..." if there is anything on the net? Badly, I live in Chile, so is a little difficult for me to get some books... What connections you see between Word Virus and Foucault thoughs on lenguage? Do you know the work of Mishima?
Tony Roberts: Do you know the work of William S. Burroughs? His entire body of work is about the addiction to intense experience. His obsession with systems of control that we become selves by interpolating echoes Foucault as does his emphasis on sites of resistance and the psycho-technologies which create them. I believe his concept of language as a virus that infects us and uses us to reproduce is a step beyond Foucault. "Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader" would be a good place to start.
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