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Naked Lunch: the Restored Text by William…

Naked Lunch: the Restored Text (original 1959; edition 2004)

by William Burroughs (Author)

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10,132106539 (3.53)278
Bill Lee, an addict and hustler, travels to Mexico and then Tangier in order to find easy access to drugs, and ends up in the Interzone, a bizarre fantasy world, in an edition that features restored text, archival material, and an essay on psychoactive drugs.
Title:Naked Lunch: the Restored Text
Authors:William Burroughs (Author)
Info:Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (2004), Edition: Reprint, 429 pages
Collections:Your library

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Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959)


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» See also 278 mentions

English (103)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
I'm really just too old for this shit.

I might have loved it as a teenager and I'm sure there is some profound truth about addiction and society in there, but now I just find it tiresome. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jul 27, 2021 |
Naked Lunch: the Restored Text by Phyllis Kronhausen (2004)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
you'd have to be a real uptight nerd to not think this book rules ( )
  mousetrapreplica | May 30, 2021 |
Naked Lunch is not for me. Having read two of his other books—Junkie and The Wild Boys—I might need to concede that Burroughs isn’t for me. However I can see the line that connects him to writers that I do like, most obviously Philip K. Dick, and I did at times appreciate his surreal sense of humor (in one scene an exasperated sex worker talks about how all of his johns are freaks and complains how he thought he’d found one normal one...only to watch him turn into a large crab in the end). My problem with the book stems from how difficult it was for me to have any of the emotional reactions that he seemed to want from his readers. The parts that were gross seemed too juvenile to take seriously and the pornographic scenes that got the book so much attention back in the day are about as shocking as anything you might stumble across when a troll invades a forum about video games or knitting. Again I did think it was funny at times but that humor was tinged with what felt like a lot of genuine, virulent hatred for women (straight women in particular are often portrayed as insane, cock-hungry rapists; did I mention Burroughs shot his second wife in the face?) and a kind of dismissive humor concerning other races. It’s a disjointed and furious book. Did I mention he wrote it while in one of the worst drug spirals of his life, shortly after Allen Ginsberg rejected him? I actually found his comments in the additional material on the addictive qualities of various opiates more interesting than most of the book. I’m sure the opioid crisis people talk about today would seem old hat to Burroughs. ( )
1 vote jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Performance Art on Paper

Naked Lunch is different in nearly every aspect from every reading experience I have ever had. I had seen William S. Burroughs (WSB) in some of my sci fi book lists before I picked up Naked Lunch. In college when I discovered the beats (Kerouac, Ginsburg, WSB) I realized that sci fi was not what WSB was really known for. Naked Lunch is his masterpiece.

The best way to describe Naked Lunch is to tell what how it affected me as a reader, writer and as a person. I came away from the book realizing that there are some things in life I can't control - and sometimes the resulting ride is better than what I could have imagined for myself.

As far as plot, there ain't much ... at least in one long coherent story. WSB jumps around from one idea to the next. One moment you are reading a graphic, beautiful description of life as a junkie and just as you are slipping into that comfort zone of a tasty novel WHAM! you are suddenly torn asunder and dropped into the middle of a horrifying nightmare tale of Dr. Benway as he swings his blades and rambles (almost) incoherently about the evils of society. But the rambles begin to make sense, and then just when you think Benway's not really a nut, but a prophet, WHAM! WSB drags you kicking and screaming into the midst of a hell populated by creatures called Mugwumps that do unspeakable things to young boys (this is what got Naked Lunch in front of the US Court system before it was finally published). And just when you are too disgusted to read anymore WHAM WSB slips you back into a warm fuzzy place as wholesome and warm as the first sunburn of the summer - then WHAM he tosses you off the diving board but catches you and holds you in the instant before that burn hits the cold water of the deep end, and keeps you there ALMOST too long but just before you cant take it anymore SPLASH! down you go again into something new.

So ... Naked Lunch is like performance art on paper. WSB won't let you stay long enough in one place to ever feel a mastery of the book. I believe this is done on purpose, and brilliantly. This is not an Agatha Christie to cuddle up with by the fire. This is a book that will make you FEEL - maybe repulsed, maybe invigorated, maybe horrified. You will love it, or hate it, but you will definitely feel something, and come away changed if you see it through to the end. ( )
  Randy_Foster | Feb 13, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (58 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burroughs, William S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial CourtContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballard, J. G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Behrens, KatharinaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Behrens, PeterÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Grazia, EdwardContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsberg, AllenContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grauerholz, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Joyce & Co.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lendínez, MartínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mailer, NormanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijsing, GeertenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijsing, GeertenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, BarryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ulin, David L.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil-doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square station, vault and turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train.
In life there is that which is funny, and there is that which is politely supposed to be funny. (Foreword)
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts in a decision handed down on July 7, 1966, declared Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs not obscene. (Naked Lunch on Trial)
I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness... (Introduction)
When I say I have no memory of writing Naked Lunch, this is of course an exaggeration, and it is to be kept in mind that there are various areas of memory. (Afterthoughts on a Deposition)
As one judge said to another: Be just. And if you can't be just, be arbitrary.
"I studied neurology under Professor Fingerbottom in Vienna...and he knew every nerve in your body. Magnificent old thing...Came to a sticky end... His falling piles blew out the Duc de Ventre's Hispano Suiza and wrapped around the rear wheel. He was completely gutted, leaving an empty shell sitting there on the giraffe skin upholstery.... Even the eyes and brain went with a horrible schlupping sound.  The Duc de Ventre says he will carry that ghastly schlup to his mausoleum."
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Disambiguation notice
Fun fact: The ... edition ... published by France’s Olympia Press, misprinted the title. Burroughs had always intended to call the book simply Naked Lunch, but his editors added the article. The error was corrected in the first, 1962 American edition, but some later printings still included “the” in the title. http://flavorwire.com/231804/classic-...
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Bill Lee, an addict and hustler, travels to Mexico and then Tangier in order to find easy access to drugs, and ends up in the Interzone, a bizarre fantasy world, in an edition that features restored text, archival material, and an essay on psychoactive drugs.

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