Professor Oliver C. G. Harris

Title: Professor of American Literature
Phone: (+44) 01782 733016
Email: o.c.g.harris@keele.ac.uk
Location: CBB 1.053
Role: Deputy Programmes Director
Contacting me:
Harris_Oliver

After gaining a Double First in English Language and Literature from Christ Church, Oxford, I went on to study for my doctorate there (1984-88), before working free-lance as an editor and writer. In 1993 I joined the department of American Studies, where I’ve taught a wide range of modules, from English and American 20th-century fiction to courses on the Beat Generation and the Counterculture of the 1960s, from introductions to cinema to specialist courses on film noir and Alfred Hitchcock. From 2003 I was Programme Director for English and American Literatures and then also for American Studies. Over the past fifteen years I've become a leading scholar in the Beat field, especially on the work of William Burroughs, and in 2010 I became founding President of the European Beat Studies Network.

Since completing my D.Phil at Oxford, I’ve focused on material scholarship, and of my ten books, eight have been editions of works by William Burroughs: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1945-1959 (1993); a fiftieth anniversary edition of his first novel, Junky: the definitive text of “Junk” (2003); his epistolary novella, The Yage Letters Redux (2006); Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs (2008); a 25th-anniversary edition of Queer (2010) and the famous "Cut-Up Trilogy": The Soft Machine: the Restored Text (2014), Nova Express: the Restored Text (2014), and the Ticket That Exploded: the Restored Text (2014).

In addition to my full-length critical study, William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination (2003), I also co-edited Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays (2009) and have published many articles on Burroughs in journals and collections.  I've also given numerous conference talks about other Beat Generation writers, including Jack Kerouac, and about editing theory and practice, including papers for Columbia University's prestigious Book Colloquium series.    

As well as publishing my research, I am active in organising symposia and conferences, including the week long series of talks and performances in Paris (July 2009) to mark the 50th anniversary of Naked Lunch's publication there.  I also co-organised and/or contributed to other events that year in Bristol (September), in New York (October) and San Francisco (November).  And, as President of the European Beat Studies Network, I have organised its annual conferences in The Netherlands (2012), Morocco (2014), and Manchester (2016).  I've also organised numerous events at Keele, including the symposium "Uncovering the Scholarly Edition."

Beyond my Burroughs work, I have researched and written about the Beat movement more broadly, publishing essays in Beat Culture: The 1950s and Beyond (1999), College Literature (2000), Twentieth Century Literature (2000), Reconstructing the Beats (2003), Beat Culture: Lifestyle, Icons and Impact (2005), The Encyclopedia of Beat Literature (2007) and The Cambridge Companion to the Beats (2017). Finally, in addition to my work in the Beat and Burroughs fields, I have published essays on film, on literature-film adaptation, on the epistolary, on social text editing theory, on Surrealism and on Ernest Hemmingway's short fiction.

  • The Soft Machine: the Restored Text by William S. Burroughs, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 272 pp. Introduction IX-LIII.
  • Nova Express: the Restored Text, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 254 pp. Introduction IV-LV.
  • The Ticket That Exploded: the Restored Text, Grove and Penguin, 2014. 287 pp. Introduction IX-LV
  • Queer: 25th-Anniversary Edition by William S. Burroughs, Penguin, 2010. 150 pp. Introduction IX-XL
  • Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays, Southern Illinois University Press, 2009. 293 pp.
  • Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs. Ohio State University Press, 2008. 217 pp. Introduction IX-XXVIII.
  • The Yage Letters Redux by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, City Lights, 2006. 127 pp. Introduction IX-XL VII.
  • William Burroughs and The Secret of Fascination, Southern Illinois University Press, 2003.  287 pp.
  • Junky: the definition text of "Junk" by William S. Burroughs, Penguin, 2003. 166 pp. Introduction: IX-XXXIX.
  • The Letter of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959, Viking, 1993. 472 pp. Introduction: XV-XL.

Selected Publications

  • Harris OCG (Ed.). The Soft Machine: The Restored Text by William Burroughs. Pengiun Classics.
  • Harris OCG (Ed.). The Soft Machine: The Restored Text by William Burroughs. Pengiun Classics.
  • Harris OCG. 2017. "William S. Burroughs: Beating Postmodernism". In The Cambridge Companion to the Beats. Belletto S (Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi>
  • Burroughs WS. 2014. The Ticket That Exploded The Restored Text. Penguin UK.
  • Burroughs WS. 2014. Nova Express The Restored Text. Grove Press.

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Harris OCG (Ed.). The Soft Machine: The Restored Text by William Burroughs. Pengiun Classics.
  • Harris OCG (Ed.). The Soft Machine: The Restored Text by William Burroughs. Pengiun Classics.
  • Burroughs WS. 2014. The Ticket That Exploded The Restored Text. Penguin UK.
  • Burroughs WS. 2014. Nova Express The Restored Text. Grove Press.
  • Burroughs WS. Harris OCG (Ed.). 2010. Queer: 25th Anniversary Edition. Penguin Paperbacks.
  • Burroughs WS. Harris OCG (Ed.). 2010. Queer: 25th Anniversary Edition. Penguin Paperbacks.
  • Hibbard A, Anderson E, Anderson GN, Aries T, Birmingham J, de Waal S, Doyle R, Glass L, Harris OCG. MacFayden I and Harris OCG (Eds.). 2009. Naked Lunch at Fifty: Anniversary Essays. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Hibbard A, Anderson E, Anderson GN, Aries T, Birmingham J, de Waal S, Doyle R, Glass L, Harris OCG. MacFayden I and Harris OCG (Eds.). 2009. Naked Lunch at Fifty: Anniversary Essays. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Burroughs WS. Harris OCG (Ed.). 2008. Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs. The Ohio State University Press.
  • HARRIS OCG, Burroughs WS, Ginsberg A. 2006. The Yage Letters Redux by William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Edited and with an Introduction by Oliver Harris. San Francisco: City Lights.
  • Harris OCG. Harris OCG (Ed.). 2003. Junky: The Definitive Text of 'Junk' by William S. Burroughs Edited and with an Introduction by Oliver Harris. Penguin, New York.
  • HARRIS OCG. 2003. William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • HARRIS OCG. 1993. The Letters of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959, Edited and with an Introduction by Oliver Harris. New York: Viking.

Journal Articles

  • Harris OCG. 2012. Minute Particulars of the Counter-Culture: Time, Life, and the Photo-poetics of Allen Ginsberg. Comparative American Studies, vol. 10(1), 3-29. doi>
  • Harris OCG. 2011. Burroughs, William. The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, vol. 2011, 1-5. doi>
  • HARRIS OCG. 2006. 'Not Burroughs' final fix: materializing "The Yage Letters"'. Postmodern Culture, vol. 16(2), 14,000 words. doi>
  • Harris OCG. 2003. Film Noir Fascination: Outside History, but historically so. Cinema Journal.
  • Harris OCG. 2002. Film Noir et le royaume nocturne de la fascination. Les Cahiers du CIRCAV.
  • Harris O. 2001. 'Out of Epistolary Practice: Email from Emerson, Post-Cards to Pynchon'. American Literary History, vol. 13(1), 158-168. doi>
  • HARRIS OCG and Harris O. 2000. “Beating the Academy". College Literature, vol. 27(1), 195-212.
  • Harris O. 1999. "'Can You See A Virus?" The Queer Cold War of William Burroughs". Journal of American Studies, vol. 33(2), 243-266.

Chapters

  • Harris OCG. 2017. "William S. Burroughs: Beating Postmodernism". In The Cambridge Companion to the Beats. Belletto S (Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi>
  • Harris OCG. 2010. Cutting Up the Corpse. In The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism's Parlor Game. Kochhar-Lindgren K, Schneiderman D, Denlinger T (Eds.). University of Nebraska Press.
  • HARRIS OCG. 2009. “The Beginnings of ‘Naked Lunch, an endless novel,’”. In Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays. Harris, Oliver, MacFadyen I (Eds.). Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Harris O. 2005. "'Burroughs is a poet too, really': The Poetics of 'Minutes to Go". In Edinburgh Review. (vol. 114).
  • Harris O. 2005. 'Killing the Killers: Hemingway, Hollywood, Death'. In Literature and The Visual Media. Seed D (Ed.). D.S. Brewer (Essays and Studies Series).
  • Harris O. 2005. 'William Burroughs'. In Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons and Impact. Lawlor W (Ed.). ABC-CLIO.
  • Harris OCG. 2004. "Cutting up Politics". In Retaking the Universe: William S Burroughs in the age of globalisation. Schneiderman, Davis, Walsh, Philip (Eds.). Pluto, London.
  • Harris OCG. 2004. "Virus-X": Kerouac's Visions of Burroughs. In Reconstructing the Beats. Skerl J (Ed.). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Harris O. 1999. “Queer Shoulders, Queer Wheel: Homosexuality and Beat Textual Politics,”. In Beat Culture: The 1950s and Beyond. Minnen CV (Ed.). Amsterdam: VU Press.
  • Harris O. 1991. “Cut-Up Closure: The Return to Narrative”. In William S. Burroughs At the Front: Critical Reception 1959-1989. Skerl, Jennie, Lydenberg R (Eds.). Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois University Press.

Other

  • HARRIS OCG. 2006. The Yage Letters Redux by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
  • HARRIS OCG. 2003. Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk" by William S. Burroughs.
  • Somerville SB. 2003. 'Queering The Colour Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture. doi>

I teach literature, mainly 20th-century American and English fiction, and also film, but my specialism is the culture of the post war period. I’ve taught a range of modules about the Beat Generation of the 1950s (key writers: Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg), and about the counterculture of the 1960s (writers from Ken Kesey via Thomas Pynchon to Carlos Castaneda).

As for film, I teach an introduction to American Cinema course and Alfred Hitchcock’s America, both at Level 2, and run a film noir module at Level 3.  I'd like to offer a module on adaptation (having published a study of Hemmingway and Hollywood in Literature and the Visual Media [2005], but that's one for the future. For postgraduates, I have supervised and examined numerous PhDs about William Burroughs, and am currently supervising a PhD on the work of Alfred Hitchcock.

As is reflected in my scholarship and editing work, I also have a special interest in the materiality of writing.  If you're at all interested in Burroughs, you're welcome to get in touch; for the premier Burroughs website, you should check out Reality Studio.

 ‌Oliver Harris CV and Publications July 2017


Main Publications (links to Amazon)

 

 

 

 

 

 The Soft Machine (2014)

 

Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure

Review

Triology Review

 

 

 

 

Nova Express (2014)

 

Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure

Review

Triology Review

 

 

 

 

The Ticket That Exploded (2014)

 

 

 

Review Essay

Operation Total Exposure

Review Essay                  

 Triology Review
Q25 Front cover

Queer: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition (2010)

Interview

Interview 2   | ‌

   
 ‌‌‌

Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays (2009)

More information on nakedlunch.org

Everything Lost Cover

Everything Lost: the Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs (2008)

Interview | Review 1 | Review 2

Yage Letters Cover

The Yage Letters Redux (2006)

Review 1 | Review 2 | Review 3

Junky Cover

Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk" 50th Anniversary Edition (2003)

Reviews

William Burroughs Cover

William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination (2003)

Review

William Burroughs Letters Cover The Letters of William S. Burroughs, 1945-1959 (1993)
excuisite corpse cover

 

“Cutting Up the Corpse,” in The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism's Parlor Game (2009) edited by Davis Schneiderman et al.

Beats "'Virus X': Kerouac's Visions of Burroughs," in Reconstructing the Beats (2004) edited by Jennie Skerl
Cut-up Closure "Cut-Up Closure: The Return to Narrative," in William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989 (1991) edited by Jennie Skerl and Robin Lydenberg
retaking the universe cover "Cutting up Politics" in Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (2004) edited by Davis Schneiderman and Philip Walsh

Critical Articles on-line

      

  • Time Life "Minute Particulars of the Counter-Culture: Time, Life, and the Photo-poetics of Allen Ginsberg" in Comparative American Studies (2012).
  • Cold War Correspondents: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassady, and the Political Economy of Beat Letters (from twentieth Century Literature 46 (Summer 2000), 171-192) Read more here.
  • Beating the Academy (from College Literature 27.1 (Winter 2000), 213-231). Read more here
  • “’Can You See A Virus?’ The Queer Cold War of William Burroughs” (from Journal of American Studies 33.2 (1999), 243-266). Read more here
  • "Burroughs is a poet too, really": the poetics of Minutes to Go from The Edinburgh Review 114 (2005), 24-36. Read more here
  • "Not Burroughs' Final Fix: Materializing : The Yage Letters" from Postmodern Culture 16.3 (January 2006). Read more here

Conference Papers on-line

 

"Watch Live Keynote Talk (2014)"