Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

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Overview


Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume—that contains final-draft typescripts, numerous unpublished contemporaneous writings by Burroughs, his own later introductions to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs—is a ...
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Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

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Overview


Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume—that contains final-draft typescripts, numerous unpublished contemporaneous writings by Burroughs, his own later introductions to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs—is a valuable and fresh experience of a novel that has lost none of its relevance or satirical bite.

A classic of modern literature for over 35 years, Naked Lunch is the unnerving tale of Bill Lee, addicted to hustlers and narcotics, and his monumental descent into Hell. His journey takes him from New York to Tangiers, as he runs from the police and searches for a place to buy and take drugs.

Ultimately, he enters the hallucinatory fantasy world of the 'Interzone,' a nightmarish urban wasteland where individual freedom confronts the forces of totalitarianism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire.” —Newsweek

“Ever since Naked Lunch…William S. Burroughs has been ordained America’s most incendiary artist.” –Los Angeles Times

“A book of great beauty . . . . Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.” —Norman Mailer

“A great, an essential novel…[that] prefigures much that has occurred in history, the popular media and high and low culture in the past four decades.” –The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

“A creator of grim fairy tales for adults, Burroughs spoke to our nightmare fears and, still worse, to our nightmare longings. . . . And more than any other postwar wordsmith, he bridged generations; popularity in the youth culture is greater now than during the heady days of the Beats.” —Douglas Brinkley, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Naked Lunch will leave the most amoral readers slack-jawed; and yet a trek beneath the depraved surface reveals interweaving caverns that ooze unsettling truths about the human spirit. . . . In the same galloping, lyrical way Walt Whitman celebrated democratic toilers of all stripes, Burroughs gleefully catalogs totalitarian spoilers and criminal types—be they human or monster, psychological or pharmacological.” —Mark Luce, The Kansas City Star

“[Naked Lunch] made Burroughs’s reputation as a leader of the rebels against the complacency and conformity of American society. . . . An outrageous satire on the various physical and psychological addictions that turn human beings into slaves. . . . Burroughs’s vision of the addict’s life, by which we may infer the lives of all of us in some sense, is a vicious death-in-life of unrelieved abnegation, utter enervation and baroque suffering. Dante could not have envisioned such a post-Holocaust, post-apocalyptic circle of hell.” —Frederic Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal

“An absolutely devastating ridicule of all that is false, primitive, and vicious in current American life: the abuses of power, hero worship, aimless violence, materialistic obsession, intolerance, and every form of hypocrisy.” —Terry Southern

“Only after the first shock does one realize that what Burroughs is writing about is not only the destruction of depraved men by their drug lust, but the destruc­tion of all men by their consuming addictions . . . He is a writer of great power and artistic integrity engaged in a profoundly meaningful search for true values.” —John Ciardi

Praise for William Burroughs:

“Of all the Beat Generation writers, William S. Burroughs was the most dangerous. . . . He was anarchy's double agent, an implacable enemy of conformity and of all agencies of control-from government to opiates.” —Rolling Stone

“William was a Shootist. He shot like he wrote—with extreme precision and no fear.” —Hunter S. Thompson

Publishers Weekly

William S. Burroughs's classic tale has been fully restored by his longtime editors, Grauerholz and Miles, and is invigorated by this enthusiastic reading. Mark Bramhall offers a professional performance peppered with every trick of the actor's trade to make it a resonating effort. He approaches the work with such energy that the story seems like a new entity, freshly relevant and timely. Listeners will lose themselves in the journey of junkie William Lee as he makes his way from bizarre destination to even more bizarre destination in this unforgettable novel. A Grove paperback. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Newsweek
"A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire."
Herbert Gold
It happens that Burroughs possesses a special literary gift. Naked Lunch is less a novel than a series of essays, fantasies, prose poems, dramatic fragments, bitter arguments, jokes, puns, epigrams--all hovering about the explicit subject matter of making out on drugs while not making out in either work or love... (Naked Lunch) takes a coldly implacable look at the dark side of our nature... William Burroughs has written the basic work for understanding that desperate symptoms which is the beat style of life.-- Books of the Century, The New York Times review, November, 1962
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802140180
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/15/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

A wanderer and a literary experimentalist, William S. Burroughs is the Beat writer who outlived most of his contemporaries to become the literary symbol of a dispossessed, rock n' roll mentality. His rollercoaster existence made for good semifictional reading, but he also innovated the narrative form with his fragmentary, brash style.

Biography

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) -- guru of the Beat Generation, controversial éminence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet, and blackest of black humor satirists -- had a range of influence rivaled by few post-World War II writers. His many books include Naked Lunch, Queer, Exterminator!, The Cat Inside, The Western Lands, and Interzone.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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Table of Contents

Naked Lunch 1
And Start West 3
The Vigilante 8
The Rube 9
Benway 19
Joselito 39
The Black Meat 43
Hospital 47
Lazarus Go Home 58
Hassan's Rumpus Room 62
Campus of Interzone University 70
A.J.'s Annual Party 74
Meeting of International Conference of Technological Psychiatry 87
The Market 89
Ordinary Men and Women 101
Islam Incorporated and the Parties of Interzone 121
The County Clerk 141
Interzone 148
The Examination 155
Have You Seen Pantopon Rose? 165
Coke Bugs 166
The Exterminator Does a Good Job 169
The Algebra of Need 172
Hauser and O'Brien 174
Atrophied Preface 182
Quick ... 195
Original Introductions and Additions by the Author 197
Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness [1960] 199
Post Script ... Wouldn't You? [1960] 207
Afterthoughts on a Deposition [1991] 211
Letter from a Master Addict to Dangerous Drugs [1956] 213
Burroughs Texts Annexed by the Editors 231
Editors' Note 233
Letter to Irving Rosenthal [1960] 249
The Death of Mel the Waiter [undated] 252
Outtakes: The Vigilante 254
Outtakes: The Rube 257
Outtakes: Benway 264
Outtakes: The Black Meat 266
Outtakes: Hospital 269
Outtakes: A.J.'s Annual Party 270
Outtakes: Islam Incorporated and the Parties of Interzone 272
Outtakes: The Examination 272
Outtakes: Coke Bugs 279
Outtakes: Hauser and O'Brien 281
Outtakes: Atrophied Preface 282
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Naked Lunch

    Forget you ever read a book in your life. All the standards and rules and everything you have read up to this point, just toss it out the window because it will do you absolutely no good when reading this book. In fact, it will probably be detrimental. This is probably the most difficult book I have ever read. Literally. I sat down and read five pages. I put the book down and realized I had no idea what was going on. Sure that I must have missed something, I went back and read again. About twelve pages in, I again realized I was not getting it. Frustrated I put it away.<BR/><BR/>I started the book from the beginning three days later. I got to the part where I kept stopping and realized, there is no way I am going to force this book to make sense. So I had to shift a little, and make myself give in to the book instead, which for me is relatively uncomfortable. And yet, only in that manner was I able to sink into this hellish book.<BR/><BR/>If I were to describe this book in one line, it would include the words trip, crazy, troubling and edgy accompanied by a handful of expletives scattered around for good measure.<BR/><BR/>Once you give in to the book, prepare yourself to go on one of the most disturbing, surrealistic, humorous, perverted, unbelievable rides of your life. Take ¿Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas¿ and multiply it times four.<BR/><BR/>As a point of warning, this book is NOT for the average reader. It demands an open mind, because it deals with drugs, alcohol, substance abuse, sexuality, homosexuality and science fiction in very explicit ways. VERY. Though not overtly descriptive in a lot of cases, this book does have some scenes that will make the tamer side of the crowd cringe. It is not every day that an author describes a characters fright, by picturing him pissing and defecating all over himself. It is not every day that an author tells the story about a man that teaches his bonghole to talk. It does not make sense, it is not supposed to. The world that this author describes, which is at times in Mexico, Tangiers and the Interzone, is one that can not really be described as anything other than one massive sex, drug and violence trip.<BR/><BR/>Furthermore, sentences come at you broken and the story jumps from one scene to the next without following any rational thought. It is no secret that a lot of this was written while the author was under the influence and it shows. At times disgusting, twisted and at other times incredibly humorous, this book is going to test all literary conventions.<BR/><BR/>Armed with a collection of memorable characters such as junkies that believe themselves to be secret agents, or unscrupulous doctors that have absolutely no ethics¿this explosive book, is like a bullet, hard hitting and unforgiving. It will likely offend most readers in one way or another. But if you can find it within yourself to take yourself a bit more lightly, you may just enjoy it.<BR/><BR/>Maybe.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2011

    Wow

    I can honestly say that until today I had never read a book that has made me gag, laugh, and cringe in pain uncontrollably over and over again. No one who is at all narrow minded will enjoy the book as well as most who consider themselves open minded. Let me say that I think just about every review I have read is exaggerating in one extreme or another. This is not trash that should be burned and never read by anyone. But it is also not a masterpiece, and obviously some people read way to much into it. The book definitely has a message (although it is hard to find) and it is new, fresh, and challenging. The book is no doubt extremely important and to a degree revolutionary but to say that it changed American culture is definitely a stretch.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2006

    Unimaginable Rugged Beauty

    This book is not for the faint of heart. It is not one those happy books that you can read before you go to bed. It is a dark journey through addiction and madness. It is a brilliant book that can never be replicated. It is a must read. It is a must own.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    Worst Book I Have Ever Read!

    Without being all that melodramatic and hyperbolic, this is possiblt the worst book I have ever read my entire life as of yet, along side The Scarlet Letter. It is incoherent and there is no logic to it. I don't understand why everyone praises the guy, thousys are just pretentious and think they're cool for saying , I understand Lunch, man! It's not misunderstood....it's horrible to its very core.

    5 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    Unreadable - Stream of consciousness crap

    As a pioneer of the beat generation authors, such as Kerouac and Ginsberg, I had wanted for years to see what insight Burroughs shared in his seminal work. Unfortunately this is just the addled ramblings of a drug fried brain. The major accomplishment seems to be that he got it onto the page.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    For my English Assignment I had to read a book and write review

    For my English Assignment I had to read a book and write review about it, I chose Naked Lunch the Restored Text. I have to agree it redefine American Culture, the book addicts you like William S. Burroughs was addicted to narcotics. He had written down mostly everything he had gone through while on the influence of drugs.  It made me go to a totally different world, at some points I didn’t know whether I should laugh or scream. Don’t get me wrong it is a good thing because in a world of happiness you’re always going to need pain. 
    This has to be one of my favorite books. I really enjoy sort of the side notes (if that’s what you call them) in text. The reason I read was because it was in the banned book list and I am rebel.  It was probably banned for every conceivable way a book should be banned, but who really cares.  If I were to recommend this to anyone it has to be to the people that are very open-minded or it won’t really make any sense to you. It is also difficult to read but once you get it, its genius.  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2006

    Disturbing beauty

    Wonderful weird flake consistancy world half-life stillness. This book is like no other. The sentences are disjointed and the words are jumbled--all on purpose to give you the feel of a heroin addict taking notes. And it works. A book that changed the course of literature. Parts are extremely disturbing. Parts are beautiful. Take the journey.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Apparently written under the influence at a time when drug use w

    Apparently written under the influence at a time when drug use was still underground. I just didn&rsquo;t get it. For the life of me I could not make any sense out of this book. The only parts that were coherent were the essays at the end. It was like 196 pages of Jim Morrison poetry. There&rsquo;s no discernable plot. Burroughs apparently wrote down every sick, obscene, filthy thought that ran through his drug addled mind. Some parts seem like they were nothing more than random phrases thrown together.

    I&rsquo;m certainly no prude; I inhaled, and I have nothing against books that use profanity or describe sexual situations, but Burroughs uses obscenity just for the sake of shock. I had to resign myself to reading 10 pages a day just to get through it. The only reason I didn&rsquo;t give up altogether was because I believe in finishing any book that I begin.

    Maybe you need hard drugs to enjoy this book. Perhaps Naked Lunch could be used in the anti-drug campaign as an example of how the mind disintegrates with prolonged drug usage, although I wouldn&rsquo;t recommend anyone under the age of 16 read this.

    Unless you enjoy unintelligible mayhem, do yourself a favor and read something else.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loove itt!

    I'll admit, Naked Lunch (as well as Junky and the rest of Burroughs' books) are NOT for everybody. In my opinion you either love his work or you hate it. I am one of those who love him and can't get enough of his writng. I've already reccomended this book many times over the years and still reread it a few times a year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Click this

    So according to people the author ,William buroughs or watever his name is ,was taking heroin when he made the book so u just have to go with the flow even though i never read the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Excellent

    ...

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  • Posted January 2, 2014

    This is not the first work by Burroughs that I've read but it is

    This is not the first work by Burroughs that I've read but it is the worst. The text flows through nonsensical chaos that will leave you scratching your head or staring at the page questioning what you just read. The language is graphic, confusing and deals heavily with the darkest sides of substance abuse. His descriptions of the characters, their drug use and sexuality are disturbing. This is not for the faint of heart nor is it for anyone who'd like to read an even remotely coherent book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2013

    This is the most twisted sick fetish I have ever read. I¿ve hear

    This is the most twisted sick fetish I have ever read. I’ve heard it said this novel was the work of pure genius and I am going to have to take the word of more literary minded people than myself on that. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    So I started reading this because I was told it was like Jack Ke

    So I started reading this because I was told it was like Jack Kerouac. I guess if Jack Kerouac was into things that would not pass the censor here. Do not be fooled, Burroughs is no Kerouac. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Lolz

    I LOSTT MY APETITE !!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews

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