Next Up: Naked Lunch
Okay, then, here we go with Naked Lunch.
William Burroughs writes in an experimental style—imagine William Faulkner as a beat writer. I believe I’ll really need to focus to stay with this one…it just has that feeling. According to Wikipedia, “Naked Lunch is a non-linear narrative that is difficult to describe in terms of plot.” Oh good.
Plus, oh yeah, lots of drug use and sketchiness.
So here are a few quick facts about Naked Lunch and its author, William Burroughs:
- Originally published in 1959.
- Because of obscenity laws, a complete edition of the novel didn’t appear until 1962.
- Boston banned the novel in 1962, but that decision was reversed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1966. The court found that Naked Lunch didn’t violate obscenity laws, “as it was found to have some social value.” Ringing endorsement there.
- According to Burroughs, the title came from a suggestion by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac said his suggestion was “Naked Lust,” and Ginsberg misread the title.
- The band Steely Dan took their name from a certain “device” that’s used in the novel.
- In the 1960s, Mick Jagger was in talks to make a musical based on the novel, but the project never came about.
- Burroughs was a part of the beat writer movement, and he lived an adventurous life–which we’ll definitely be looking at on the blog in the coming weeks. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 83.
I’ll just say I’ve read 20 pages of this novel so far and, ironically, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to read it at lunch. It’s, well, graphic.
We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck.
Who’s read Naked Lunch, and what can you tell me about it?