This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original publication of Naked Lunch , by William S Burroughs. Given the book's ongoing influence it goes without saying that this is a significant milestone. However, when the book first appeared in Paris in mistitled as The Naked Lunch on the small Olympia Press , it had little impact. Because of this, perhaps a more important anniversary is that of the novel's first US publication in For that's when Burroughs's controversial drug-and-sex-fuelled classic truly burst into the limelight, both because it was recognised by large numbers of critics and readers as a breakthrough piece of literature and also because of a series of obscenity trials it inspired. Written primarily in a "hard-boiled" style that mimics and often mocks classic detective fiction, Naked Lunch pretty much does without plotting, as Burroughs's alter-ego William Lee and a shifting cast of protagonists drift in and out of heroin-laced visions of scoring drugs, sexual obsession and degradation, bizarre political plots, and even stranger medical experiments.
The Restored Text
The book is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. The vignettes which Burroughs called "routines" are drawn from Burroughs' own experiences in these places and his addiction to drugs: heroin , morphine and, while in Tangier, majoun a strong hashish confection , as well as a German opioid with the brand name Eukodol oxycodone , of which he wrote frequently. The novel was included in Time ' s " Best English-language Novels from to ". Because of US obscenity laws ,  a complete American edition by Grove Press did not follow until
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William S. He died in at the age of First published 50 years ago, William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch is a dark, wild ride through the terror of heroin addiction and withdrawal, filled with paranoia, erotica and drug-fueled hallucinations. In an introduction of sorts to the novel, Burroughs wrote that the book was a result of "detailed notes on sickness and delirium" that he took during his 15 years of heroin addiction. As he explained in a interview: "It was just my character. I always was attracted to the run-down, or the old or the offbeat. Burroughs hadn't always intended to be a man of letters. An heir to the Burroughs Adding Machine Company, he initially studied medicine at Harvard before falling into the group of misfit writers who eventually evolved into "The Beats. And he said that I would write a novel called
Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius. Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the work of authors like Thomas Pynchon, J. Ballard, and William Gibson, on the relationship of art and obscenity, and on the shape of music, film, and media generally, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture.