Stop's Reviews > Burroughs Live: The Collected Interviews, 1960-1997

Burroughs Live by William S. Burroughs
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's review
Aug 24, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Naked Lunch, we present this 1966 interview with William S. Burroughs, which originally appeared in Jaguar Magazine. It was excerpted here from Burroughs Live: The Collected Interviews of William S. Burroughs (Semiotext(e), 2001).

STOP SMILING will co-host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Naked Lunch this Friday, Aug. 28. Click here for details.


New York, 1966

Jaguar Magazine: You have been accused of being generally against the establishment, and many of your critics read “messages” into much of what the average reader may think of as simply extremely sexy. I refer specifically to the fairly violent scene which might easily be re-read as a kind of social protest — perhaps against capital punishment.

William Burroughs: It’s a tract against capital punishment in the genre of Swift’s Modest Proposal. I was simply following a formula to its logical conclusion. Some people appear to have understood it. The publication of Naked Lunch in England practically coincided with their abolition of capital punishment. The book obviously had a certain effect.

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