Talk:Naked Lunch

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I thought the punctuation was a little off in this sentence, but it might just be me.

"Rather than attempt an adaptation of the novel, which as any adaptation could never be expected to be completely faithful to the original, Cronenberg took very few elements from the book and combined them with elements from Burroughs' own life, to create a fiction-biography hybrid and a film about the writing of the book and not about the book itself." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:19, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it is off. It would read better if you deleted "which as any adaption" and the the comma after "elements from Burroughs' own life".

Plot summary?[edit]

This section analyzes how the plot of the story relates to other works, but it doesn't summarize the the plot. Could someone either rename this section or revise it. -- 00:11, 9 November 2007 (UTC) Done (talk) 09:38, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like a particularly weak college paper. "The manner in which the novel is written might induce the reader to see only part of the picture—as much as he wants to see. It often happens that something mentioned in the book reappears much later producing thus a series of intratextual relationships and echoes. This idea, relating to different perspectives within a larger picture, is itself a theme which runs throughout this book. The novel's mix of taboo fantasies, peculiar creatures (like the predatory Mugwumps, perhaps a reference to the Mugwump political movement although it is not clear), and eccentric personalities all serve to unmask mechanisms and processes of control, and have led to much controversy. By decentralizing the plot Burroughs produces a series of interrelated literal caricatures, satires, and parodies throughout the novel." Full of opinions poorly expressed. This book deserves better. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't quite get the plot summary. It suddenly speaks of somebody called AJ without explaining this acronym. Is this AJ the Agent Lee? If so, it is not mentioned anywhere. If it is somebody else, the summary must be missing something. I can't really fix this as I haven't read the book myself. (talk) 09:30, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Were the first editions hardcover or paperback?[edit]

When the first editions of the book came out, were they in paperback from, or were they hardcover? I think that the book was so common in the 1970s or 1980s, that the typical edition was in paperback form.

  • I believe the very first Olympia Press edition was in hardcover, but given that Olympia was, for all intents and purposes considered a smut publisher in 1959, it's possible it was first published only in paperback. The first Grove Press edition was definitely a hardcover; a friend of mine has a couple of first editions. 23skidoo 03:45, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
  • First Paris edition (1953, 5,000 copies) was paperback - there was a dustwrapper but it wasn't ready in time for the launch - approx 2/3 of firsts are reputed to have them. There were two later Olympia reprints of 5,000 copies each (both paperback but lacking dustwrapper). Can't remember the dates off the top of my head. May have been more than 5,000 as Girodias (who ran Olympia Press) may well have underestimated for purposes of royalities. Burroughs was one of very few writers who even got a contract off him. US and UK firsts were both hardbacks. See Burroughs author page discussion for my take on the 'the' or lack thereof. --Monstro23 05:01, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Forbidden for obscenity or intensity?[edit]

The book was forbidden from being published for approximately ten years, presumably due to the intensity of some of the material.

Where was it forbidden from being published? Word wide? Or in the Netherlands? Maybe in Utah? It would be better to offer some details ... ;-)
Best regards --zeno 00:39, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

Chicago & Massachusetts (See 2002 edition of book)

US publication (Grove Press) was indicted in Boston but book was deemed to have social value and thus released. This is significant as it was the last literary work to be prosecuted in the US. More info in Michael Goodman's "Contemporary Literary Censorship: The Case History of Burroughs' Naked Lunch." (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1981) Some editions of the book have some court transcripts... --Monstro23 22:37, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I was about to recommend this book, which is a fascinating read. Unfortunately it is also very rare it seems though I know a number of law libraries have it. 23skidoo 22:54, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

link added[edit]

I am hosting the Boston Trial article on my website. I have added a link to it for people who are interested and would like to read it, but don't own the edition of the book which it is in.

I’m sorry that I didn’t leave a signature when I posted that last message about adding the link, but I was at college when I wrote it and couldn’t log into wikipedia properly.

Josh.passmore 13:42, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Incompetent Dr. Benway[edit]

I put back the "incompetent" descriptor for Dr. Benway based upon Burroughs' description of the man deciding to do an operation with a toilet plunger and spending most of the time complaining about his cocaine being cut with Sani-Flush. (I'm uncertain which book this originates from however Burroughs reads this excerpt on several recordings including Nova Convention). Sounds pretty much incompetent to me - though I added the qualifier "borderline" since WSB's depiction of the character, as was usually the case, varied over time. 23skidoo 18:12, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think he was really incompetent as much as sociopathic... Deleuze 06:37, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Both referances above are in naked lunch. But WSB works tend to repeat themselves so it [i]may[/i]be in others too. Benway is not incompetent as per say, there's a section in naked lunch where he mentions taking an appendix out with his teeth. Its just a case of getting by on what he has, and any 'accidents' are all in a days work. (talk) 18:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup tagging[edit]

I've tagged this for cleanup-it needs a significant removal or reworking of the plot summary and criticism sections. A lot of what's there is unsourced and seems to be the editor's own opinion on the work and what it says, rather than being sourced to secondary sources about the book. Seraphimblade 14:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

  • There's no need to have more than one banner. That's just ugly and insulting to those who have worked on the article. The "needs more sources" tag is sufficient so I have taken the liberty as a lowly "anonymous" editor to remove the Clean-up one as redundant; the other banner is more specific in what you appear to want added to the article. (Please feel free to add sources yourself, incidentally). 13:01, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I must say the criticism above from Seraphimblade seems fair, I don't know if the response was meant for it, but nothing in the comments from Seraphimblade were ugly or insulting. I also think the plot summary needs a cleanup, yes the novel itself is disjointed, but there would be a better way to summarise it. No I am not a researcher, so it's a weird response to see someone say 'add sources yourself, incidentally' -if someone wants to be a contributor to an article that's their job, if someone writes on the talk page it's feedback on the existing article and suggestions to improve it. Just telling people to do it themselves is not helpful, what if the comment just came from a wikipedia user, who saw the state the article was in, and made a cleanup suggestion. If all these comments are not in answer to Seraphimblade, they should be moved to the right section or deleted entirely. -Thomas — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:09, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

literally got a "piece of ass"[edit]

He went into the hookers place and cut off some of her ass. (talk) 18:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Origin of the title – OR?[edit]

Burroughs was relieved when he finished Naked Lunch. But he did not know what to call the title, so when talking to Jack Kerouac from a foriegn country, he decided to ask him. Kerouac suggested Naked Lust, but since it was foriegn not everything went through. So, Burroughs thought he said Naked Lunch and called the story that.

Never heard that before. The only versions I have ever seen claim that either Kerouac or Ginsberg misread a line or the title in the original manuscript while putting the novel together from Burrough's fragments. -- 10:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

In my copy of the book, "Naked Lunch: The Restored Text" (pub. Grove Press, 2001) Burroughs states in the introduction "The title was suggested by Jack Kerouac. I did not understand what the title meant until my recent recovery. The title means exactly what the words say: NAKED Lunch - a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork." (pg 199) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:00, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I know that line, but this "foreign telephone line misunderstanding" story seems original research to me. I think Burroughs means "didn't realize what it means", not "misunderstood". -- megA (talk) 16:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I have a 'correct' version of how the name came about, it is in a letter written by WSB accrediting Kerouac. Will upload to the main wiki as the version it contains is poor. And yes, the "misunderstood" is stating he 'missed the meaning' (talk) 18:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Please Review Naked Lunch[edit]

Hi, could anybody reading this article please leave me a review of it at here, also I think this article should be top rated as an important work of literature, please leave your opinion here. Thanks to everybody who gets involved HangedJonny (talk) 22:23, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

The lead is a bit of a mess, i'm afraid. "The fourth novel by the beat writer, but only his second to see publication." <--This is a sentence fragment. The book due to be published in November is co-written with Kerouac: can it be said then to be his first novel, and Queer his second? It's dubious. Info about the forthcoming publication doesn't properly belong in the lead here anyway. If it is included in the article, it needs to be italicized with proper capitalization, per our manual of style. Nor do we capitalize "novel", nor is it necessary to wikilink "novel". (talk) 00:17, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Reference Links are 404s[edit]

The references for and Poetry Center of Chicago (currently 13 and 14) about the trial are both 404 errors -- page not found. Can anybody add appropriate references for this section? Thomas Roche (talk) 18:21, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Is this relevant?[edit]

"Burroughs did not supply the voice of the typewriter. "

Is it really relevant that Burroughs didn't supply the voice? Any more relevant than any other author not appearing in a film based on their books? Unless there is a general misconception that he did, I don't think that he didn't is notable. Anoldtreeok (talk) 13:38, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I won't be surprised if such a misconception exists... When I watched the film I wondered if it was Burroughs's voice. But of course, a source is required for the misconception, even if it exists. --BorgQueen (talk) 10:26, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Must agree with Anoldtreeok, 1. the voice is not at all like Burroughs, and 2. I also agree with BorgQueen, it must be sourced even if such a misconception is out there. -Thomas — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 12 August 2012 (UTC)


I came to this page to find out what a Mugwump is, and left no wiser. --Hugh7 (talk) 04:19, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

You're right, there is no explanation of what a Mugwump is, and only one, minor, mention of them. Someone should address this. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 12:58, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

NYRB review[edit]

FYI: The New York Review of Books has made its 1963 review of The Naked Lunch available online (link). -- Gyrofrog (talk) 16:00, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Good to know. Thanks! ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 21:28, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

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