Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays
Oliver C. G. Harris, Ian MacFadyen
SIU Press, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 283 pages
Celebrating and analyzing a landmark novel that is aberrant, obscene, and blasphemous, ""Naked Lunch"" was banned, ridiculed, and castigated on publication in 1959, and yet fifty years down the line it has lost nothing of its power to astonish and inspire. A lacerating satire, an exorcism of demons, a grotesque cabinet of horrors, and a landmark experiment in linguistic derangement, it is a work of ecstatic, excoriating laughter and great, transcendent beauty. The first book ever to take on William Burroughs' masterpiece, this critical collection brings together an international array of writers, scholars, musicians, scientists, and artists who cast new eyes on the writing and reception of Burroughs' unique work. Tracing its origins from Texas to Tangier, from Mexico City to New York and Paris, crossing time zones and cultures, ""Naked Lunch @ 50"" breaks new ground in understanding this most influential but elusive of texts. ""Naked Lunch @ 50"" includes studies of the text's manuscript and textual history, of its origins in and creative debts to a range of specific locations, of its reception in different societies over time and in relation to broader cultural, artistic, and personal histories. Contributors discuss the novel's existence as a physical object in regard to both design and collectability, the history of its critical reception, its cultural importance in relation to censorship and visionary art, its relationship to literary genres - from science fiction to the horror film - and its significance as a work prophetic of current trends in electronic culture and biology. A series of introductory sections, or 'Dossiers', written by Ian MacFadyen, provide glimpses of further horizons of research and reading, while a set of endpapers by the artist Philip Taaffe offers a visual correlative to Burroughs' extraordinary text.
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