naked lunch is 50


Naked Lunch, the chaotic masterpiece by William Burroughs, turned 50 this year, and odds are you probably haven’t read it. Not unlike Ulysses, War and Peace or anything by Thomas Pynchon, Naked Lunch is often lauded but seldom read, even by admitted bibliophiles. But for those who have indeed read it, the book packs a literary punch that continues to ripple through Western culture, particularly among avant-garde writers and (strangely enough) musicians. Which brings to mind the question: why is Naked Lunch still relevant 50 years later? Or, conversely, is it still relevant? Is this book just meaningful to a few fans and leftover NYC lit-punks who hope their special brand of shock still resonates long after the anger of youth has faded and the office job has begun to make sense? Or does Naked Lunch offer something more to the present day than anyone expected?

more from Dave Teeuwen at PopMatters here.