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Invisible, unseeing, alienated: Mexico and William S. Burroughs in Bernardo Fernández’s Uncle Bill

Prout, Ryan 2019. Invisible, unseeing, alienated: Mexico and William S. Burroughs in Bernardo Fernández’s Uncle Bill. International Journal of Comic Art 21 (2)

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Abstract

This article frames its reading of Uncle Bill alongside the question of whether the Beats in Mexico were glorified tourists, or early, unwitting, exponents of deeply embedded ethnographic practices. This question is in turn linked to the contention of Mexican critics that Burroughs was ignorant of his cultural surroundings, through a close examination of the evocation of Mexico City in the 1950s. Particular attention is given to Bef's inclusion in Uncle Bill of a challenging series of panels without text. How does this work to illustrate mid-century Mexico City, and how does it complicate the legibility of the comic? The article queries the extent to which Burroughs, who styled his alter ego as ‘El Hombre Invisible—the Invisible Man…’ (Burroughs 2005: 56), is extricated from obscurity as a homosexual when his halting, fragmentary, and circuitous style is transformed into sequential art. Prior to opening up these questions, the article reviews the form and structure of Uncle Bill, as well as the author’s account of what he aimed to do with the text, and of influences on the style with which the book combines biography and autobiography.

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords: William S Burroughs, Mexico, Graphic Novel, Queer, Junky, The Beats, Ethnography, Anthropology, Hallucinogens, Addiction
Language other than English: Spanish
ISSN: 1531-6793
Related URLs:
Date of Acceptance: 31 December 2019
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2020 10:45
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/128847

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