It seems that William S. Burroughs is being summoned to court once again in defense of his work, despite having been dead for some time. In his place, thankfully, goes Sel Publishing House, whose rational and considered response to the accusations levied against Burroughs have probably only helped his book sales.
Rather than the United States, where the trial surrounding Naked Lunch helped rid the country of the scourge of overzealous censors, this new series of events has taken place in Turkey, where Burroughs’ The Soft Machine was released in January.
Interestingly, the Prime Minister’s Council for Protecting Minors from Explicit Publications was called in to investigate Burroughs’ book… raising the question: Is Burroughs’ really considered a children’s author in any country?
Oh well, thankfully his publishers have jumped to his defense in court, and we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not reason prevails. Check out their statement:
It is impossible to understand the insistence in sending books written and published for adults to councils that specialize in minors. If we consider things from this perspective, then dozens of such reports could be written about TV channels, newscasts and thousands of books…
Just as no writer is under any special obligation to highlight humanity’s fair attributes under every circumstance, the measure of whether a book has any literary value or not, and the judge of what the book may add to the reader’s reservoir of knowledge, is not an official state institution, but the reader himself.
Once again, societies comprised of modern, creative and inquisitive individuals are formed by reading and being exposed to literary texts and works of art that can be considered as the most extreme examples of their kind.