The Green Ghost: William Burroughs and the Ecological Mind

The Green Ghost, by Chad Weidner, uncovers the ecological context of literary texts by William Burroughs. Until now, much scholarly work on Burroughs has focused on the sensational aspects of his life and innovative writing. By rereading canonical and ignored texts while pushing the boundaries of ecocritical theory and practice, Weidner provides a fresh perspective on Burroughs and suggests new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the work of other Beat writers. Using an ecocritical lens, Weidner explores the toxicity in Naked Lunch, while at the same time teasing out latent ecological questions embedded in Burroughs's later works. The author's analysis of unknown and miniature "cut-ups," texts that have been disassembled and rearranged to create new texts, provides a new understanding of these cryptic forms. Weidner also examines in detail books by Burroughs that have been virtually ignored by critics, exposing the deep ecology of the Beat writer's vision.In calling attention to Burroughs's narrative strategies that link him to an environmental political position, The Green Ghost reveals the work of the Beat writer as a ripe source for ecocritical dialogue.