William S. Burroughs' longtime friend will give Kansas University students a peek at his research on the Beat author during a course offered this spring.
James Grauerholz, executor of Burroughs' estate, said the course on the writer's life and times will be based in part on the Burroughs biography Grauerholz is writing.
"The Beats are an all-American phenomena and, in my opinion, they are very influential worldwide, not just in writing, but in other arts," he said.
The course, offered through KU's American studies department, will be the first of its kind, said Bill Tuttle, professor of American studies.
"It's going to give a pretty good idea of where (Burroughs') ideas came from," he said.
Finding the sources of Burroughs' ideas is something Grauerholz has wanted to do for a very long time. In one of his first letters to Burroughs in the early 1970s, Grauerholz told the author he wanted to write an article about Burroughs' early years in Central Europe.
"He wrote back, 'Must say no to early years. A writer's life is solitary and largely uneventful,'" Grauerholz said.
In his later years, Grauerholz said, Burroughs knew his friend would write a book about him. Burroughs spent the last years of his life in Lawrence.