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Naked Lunch (1959) - William S. Burroughs

Related: counterculture of the 1960s - cut-up technique - banned books - American censorship - Olympia Press - 1959 - William Burroughs - cult fiction

Excerpt: "Then [the anus] developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed same as any other mouth. Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear him for blocks screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the asshole said to him: ‘It’s you who will shut up in the end. Not me. Because we don’t need you around here any more. I can talk and eat and shit’".


  • Naked Lunch (1959) - William S. Burroughs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Naked Lunch--although not Burroughs' first foray into the cut-up technique--was his first venture into a non-linear style which shortly thereafter led him into slicing phrases and words up to create new sentences. He was inspired by his friend, Brion Gysin who had been employing the same technique with his paintings. Scenes were slid together with little care for narrative. Perhaps thinking of his crazed medic, Dr Benway, he described Naked Lunch as a book that could be cut into at any point. Although in no sense science fiction, the book does seem to forecast--with eerie prescience--such later phenomena as AIDS, liposuction and the crack epidemic.

    Burroughs sold Naked Lunch to Olympia Press publisher Maurice Girodias. After the novel was published in 1959, it became infamous across Europe and was popular within the counterculture of the 1960s. In countries where the book was banned, copies and even printing plates were smuggled across borders. Once published in the United States, Naked Lunch was prosecuted as obscene by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, followed by other states. In 1966 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared the work "not obscene" based on criteria developed largely to defend the book. The case against Burroughs's novel still stands as the last obscenity trial against a work of literature prosecuted in the United States. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs#Naked_Lunch [May 2006]

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