The Naked Lunch (1959) First Edition
True First Edition
Published by Olympia Press, Paris, 1959
Bound in green Travelers Companion series wrappers, inside original illustrated dust jacket.
The book Ginsberg called “…an endless novel which will drive everybody mad,” The Naked Lunch is William S. Burroughs’ best known novel, and also his most notorious. Compiled from a collection of notes, fragments, and vignettes—”the Word Hoard,” as Burroughs called it—begun while living in Tangiers, Burroughs, with the assistance of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Brion Gysin, edited the source material using numerous techniques, including the “cut-up method” to produce The Naked Lunch. Like much of Burroughs’ writing during that period, the novel juxtaposes a great many themes, including the nature of addiction and social control, and devastating critiques of institutions from capital punishment to the medical industry in grotesque, darkly humorous satire. First published in France, it faced numerous barriers to appearing in print in the U.S. and U.K. In 1959, the University of Chicago’s efforts to suppress it from the Chicago Review prompted the staff to quit in protest and form Big Table, and in 1966, it was banned in Boston, prompting a widely publicized obscenity trial.
This beautifully preserved copy is an Olympia Press original, a true first edition of Burroughs’ iconic novel. Part of the Olympia Traveller’s Companion Series, this copy is bound in green wrappers; on the lower right rear cover is printed “Not to be sold in the U.S.A. or U.K. Includes original dust jacket, purple and white, with black asemic calligraphy.