This paper examines the Turkish censorship trial of William S. Burroughs’s The Soft Machine and the cultural response it has engendered. Though the Turkish trial process evokes similarities to the various legal battles Burroughs and the Beats faced in the 1950s and 1960s, the absence of First Amendment guarantees in Turkey and its noted history of stifling dissent raises the stakes for Burroughs’s book and its supporters. An examination of how the book’s supporters used the trial in order to raise awareness of repressive governmental practices as well as the often unmentioned issue of homophobia in Turkey reveals both the continual relevancy of Burroughs’s work for social critique globally as well as the ways in which that critique is transformed in order to be made amenable to local needs and concerns.


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pp. 47-73
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