Naked Lunch



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Naked Lunch is known as one of William S. Burroughs' greatest contributions to the Beat Movement. The novel was originally published in 1959 in Paris. Due to the obscene content and the use of excessive expletives, Naked Lunch was not published in the United States until 1962, after subjection to obscenity trails.

Burroughs wrote the story, while living in Tangier. He admits to writing under the influence of heroine, morphine, and a local Tangier drug, called majoun. In 1957, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac traveled to Tangier and assisted Burroughs with typing, editing, and publication. The title is said to come from Kerouac.

The novel follows the story of William Lee, a junkie, who travels throughout the United States, Mexico, Tangier, and a dreamlike place called, the Interzone. It is difficult to discuss the plot of the story because Burroughs does not use the traditional linear model. Instead, Burroughs provides a rather episodic novel and introduces a variety of characters and creatures that all reflect some aspect of Burroughs' view of the world. The main themes in the novel include drug experimentation, homosexuality, challenging the government, and questioning the behavior of society. With subjects such as these, it is clear why its publication made Burroughs a major figure in the Beat Movement.

Here is an audio recording from Naked Lunch.

The novel inspired a film adaptation in 1991, directed by David Cronenburg, and starring Peter Weller. Here is the movie trailer.


All videos courtesy of

"Naked Lunch." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 11 Sept. Web. 2010. <>