Total Solar Eclipse (1912-1963)

A group gathered in a window to view the total solar eclipse over London through smoked glass, 1927
Women observe the solar eclipse, Paris, April 8, 1921
 Total eclipse of the sun, 1912
An amateur astronomer viewing an eclipse of the sun through smoked glass
from the Northern Heights in Hornsey, London, 1936
A group of nurses watch a solar eclipse through special dark glasses, June 1927
A crowd in a California town observing the total eclipse of the sun that occurred in September 1923
A crowd of people observing a solar eclipse from the grounds of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, 1927
Francis Miller, Fifth-grade students from Emerson Elementary School in Maywood, Illinois,
place cardboard boxes over their heads to shield their eyes from the sun, 1963
A London schoolteacher instructs his students not to view the sun with the naked eye but to 
use instead two dense photographic negatives sandwiched together to protect the eyes, 1927
City workers viewing a solar eclipse from their office roof, 1921
George Rodger, Kuwait, Kuwaiti Oil Company personel and their families bring a picnic lunch 
to the desert to watch the eclipse,1952
Two girls in Fleet Street, London viewing the eclipse through a safety filter, 1954
Eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun 
from the top deck of New York's Empire State Building, Aug. 31, 1932
Visitors of the Treptower astronomical observatory in Berlin witness a solar eclipse through a telescope , 1936

The Book & the Movie { Naked Lunch | William S. Burroughs, 1959 / David Cronenberg, 1991



“You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative''

 “A.J. is an agent like me, but for whom or for what no one has been able to discover. It is rumored that he represents a trust of giant insects from another galaxy...”

“Last night I woke up with someone squeezing my hand. It was my other hand.”

“I know this one pusher walks around humming a tune and everybody he passes takes it up. He is so grey and spectral and anonymous they don't see him and think it is their own mind humming the tune.”

When he smiled the fear flew away in little pieces of light, lurked enigmatically in the high cool corners of the room.

“If all pleasure is relief from tension, junk affords relief from the whole life process, in disconnecting the hypothalamus, which is the center of psychic energy and libido.”




”Cooking smells of all countries hang over the City, a haze of opium, hashish, the resinous red smoke of yage, smell of the jungle and salt water and the rotting river and dried excrement and sweat and genitals.”

''The scream shot out of his flesh through empty locker rooms and barracks, musty resort hotels, and spectral, coughing corridors of T.B. sanitariums, the muttering, hawking, grey fishwater smell of flophouses and Old Men’s Homes, great, dusty customs sheds and warehouses, through broken porticoes and smeared arabesques, iron urinals worn paper thin by the urine of a million fairies, deserted weed-grown privies with a musty smell of shit turning back to the soil, erect wooden phallus on the grave of dying peoples plaintive as leaves in the wind, across the great brown river where whole trees float with green snakes in the branches and sad-eyed lemurs watch the shore out over a vast plain (vulture wings husk in the dry air). The way is strewn with broken condoms and empty H caps and K.Y. tubes squeezed dry as bone meal in the summer sun.''




“In the City Market is the Meet Café. Followers of obsolete, unthinkable trades doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, pushers of souped-up harmine, junk reduced to pure habit offering precarious vegetable serenity, liquids to induce Latah, Tithonian longevity serums, black marketeers of World War III, excusers of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, bureaucrats of spectral departments, officials of unconstituted police states, a Lesbian dwarf who has perfected operation Bang-utot, the lung erection that strangles a sleeping enemy, sellers of orgone tanks and relaxing machines, brokers of exquisite dreams and memories tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, doctors skilled in the treatment of diseases dormant in the black dust of ruined cities, gathering virulence in the white blood of eyeless worms feeling slowly to the surface and the human host, maladies of the ocean floor and the stratosphere, maladies of the laboratory and atomic war... A place where the unknown past and the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum... Larval entities waiting for a Live One...”




“The air is cloyed with a sweet evil substance like decayed honey.”

“Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence - their speech centres are destroyed - except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony.”

“putting on a "b" production for a fruit”

“What's with the serum?"
I don't know, but it sounds ominous. We better put a telepathic direction finder on Benway. The man's not to be trusted. Might do almost anything...Turn a massacre into a sex orgy..."
Or a joke."
Precisely. Arty type...No principles...”




“The study of thinking machines teaches us more about the brain than we can learn by introspective methods. Western man is externalizing himself in the form of gadgets.”

“You see, control can never be a means to any practical end...It can never be a means to anything but more control...like junk..”

“Well as, one judge said to the other, 'Be just and if you can't be just be arbitrary.' Regret cannot observe customary obscenities.”

“How many years threaded on a needle of blood? Hands slack on lap he sits looking out at the winter dawn with the cancelled eyes of junk.”

“It is not the intensity but the duration of pain that breaks the will to resist.”




“There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing... I am a recording instrument... I do not presume to impose “story” “plot” “continuity”... Insofar as I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function... I am not an entertainer...”

“Confusion hath fuck his masterpiece.”

“Well, as you can plainly see, the possibilities are endless like meandering paths in a great big beautiful garden.”

“Be just and if you can’t be just, be arbitrary.”

“Time jump like a broken typewriter…”

“He is a boy sleeping against the mosque wall, ejaculates wet dreaming into a thousand cunts pink and smooth as sea shells...”

“O death where is thy sting? The man is never on time...”




''It was trapped inside the skull...

sealed off.

For a while, you could see...

the silent, helpless suffering
of the brain behind the eyes.

And then finally
the brain must have died...

because the eyes went out...

and there was no more feeling in them
than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.”




“I was standing outside myself trying to stop those hangings with ghost fingers... I am a ghost wanting what every ghost wants-a body-after the Long Time moving through odorless alleys of space where no life is, only the colorless no smell of death...Nobody can breath and smell it through pink convolutions of gristle laced with crystal snot, time shit and black blood filters of flesh.”

“Rock and roll adolescent hoodlums storm the streets of all nations. They rush into the Louvre and pour acid in the Mona Lisa’s face. They open zoos, insane asylums, prisons, burst water mains with air hammers, chop out the floor of passenger plane lavatories, shoot out lighthouses, file elevator cables to one thin wire, turn sewers into the water supply ... ”

“Naked Mr. America, burning frantic with self bone love, screams out: "My asshole confounds the Louvre! I fart ambrosia and shit pure gold turds! My cock spurts soft diamonds in the morning sunlight!”

“The boys eat happily looking into each other’s eyes. Blood runs down their chins.”




“The broken image of Man moves in minute by minute and cell by cell.... Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.”

“The Human Virus can now be isolated and treated.”

“Exterminate all rational thought”

“If a weaker baboon be attacked by a stronger baboon the weaker baboon will either (a) present his hrump fanny I believe is the word, gentlemen, heh heh for passive intercourse or (b) if he is a different type baboon more extrovert and well-adjusted, lead an attack on an even weaker baboon if he can find one.”

''A simopath – the technical name for this disorder escapes me – is a citizen convinced he is an ape or other simian. It is a disorder peculiar to the army, and discharge cures it.''




“There is a Senate and a Congress who carry on endless sessions discussing garbage disposal and outhouse inspection, the only two questions over which they have jurisdiction.”

“But there are higher stakes than youth or Latah, games where only two players in the world know what the stakes are.”

“What does she care for the atom bomb, the bedbugs, the cancer rent, Friendly Finance waiting to repossess her delinquent flesh… Sweet dreams, Pantopon Rose.”

“He kisses the D.S.'s hand thrusting his fingers into his mouth (the D.S. must feel his toothless gums) complaining he has lost teeth "inna thervith". "Please Boss Man. I'll wipe your ass, I'll wash out your dirty condoms, I'll polish your shoes with the oil on my nose....”

“The boy looks into Mugwump eyes blank as obsidian mirrors, pools of black blood, glory holes in a toilet wall closing on the Last Erection.”




“The Composite City where all human potentials are spread out in a vast silent market.”

“Take a shot in front of D.L. Probing for a vein in my dirty bare foot… Junkies have no shame… They are impervious to the repugnance of others. It is doubtful if shame can exist in the absence of sexual libido… The junky’s shame disappears with his nonsexual sociability which is also dependent on libido…”

“Did any of you ever see Doctor Tetrazzini perform? I say perform advisedly because his operations were performances. He would start by throwing a scalpel across the room into the patient and then make his entrance as a ballet dancer. His speed was incredible: "I don't give them time to die", he would say. Tumors put him in a frenzy of rage. "Fucking undisciplined cells!" he would snarl, advancing on the tumor like a knife-fighter.”

“Now, boys, you won't see this operation performed very often and there's a reason for that... You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it had a purpose at all. Personally I think it was a pure artistic creation from the beginning.”




“While in general I avoid the use of torture - torture locates the opponent and mobilizes resistance - the threat of torture is useful to induce in the subject the appropriate feeling of helplessness and gratitude to the interrogator for withholding it. And torture can be employed to advantage as a penalty when the subject is far enough along with the treatment to accept punishment as deserved. To this end I devised several forms of disciplinary procedure. One was known as the Switchboard. Electric drills that can be turned on at any time are clamped against the subject's teeth; and he is instructed to operate an arbitrary switchboard, to put certain connections in certain sockets in response to bells and lights. Every time he makes a mistake the drills are turned on for twenty seconds. The signals are gradually speeded up beyond his reaction time. Half an hour on the Switchboard and the subject breaks down like an overloaded thinking machine.”

“Doctor Benway is operating in an auditorium filled with students: "Now, boys, you won't see this operation performed very often and there's a reason for that ... You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it had a purpose at all. Personally I think it was a pure artistic creation from the beginning. Just as a bull fighter with his skill and knowledge extricates himself from danger he has himself invoked, so in this operation the surgeon deliberately endangers his patient, and then, with incredible speed and celerity, rescues him from death at the last possible split second ...''




“The county clerk: "So there I was sitting in front of Jed's store over in Cunt Lick my peter standing up straight as a jack pine under my Levis just a-pulsin' in the sun ... Weell, old Doc Scranton walks by, a good old boy too, there's not a finer man in this valley than Doc Scranton. He's got a prolapsed asshole and when he wants to get screwed he'll pass you his ass on three feet of in-tes-tine ... If he's a mind to it he can drop out a piece of gut reaches from his office clear over to Roy's Beer Place, and it go feelin' around lookin' for a peter, just a-feelin' around like a blind worm ... So old Doc Scranton sees my peter and he stops like a pointin' dog and he says to me, `Luke, I can take your pulse from here.”

”She seized a safety pin caked with blood and rust, gouged a great hole in her leg which seemed to hang open like an obscene, festering mouth waiting for unspeakable congress with the dropper which she now plunged out of sight into the gaping wound. But her hideous galvanized need (hunger of insects in dry places) has broken the dropper off deep in the flesh of her ravaged thigh (looking rather like a poster on soil erosion).”




”I was young myself once and heard the siren call of easy money and women and tight boy-ass and land’s sake don’t get my blood up I am subject to tell a tale make your cock stand up and yip the pink pearly way of young cunt or the lovely brown mucus-covered palpitating tune of the young boy-ass play your cock like a recorder...and when you hit the prostate pearl sharp diamonds gather in the golden lad balls inexorable as a kidney stone.”

“This foul crime shrieks like a wounded faggot for justice at least!”

”The nostalgia fit is on me boys and will out willy silly...boys walk down the carny midway eating pink spun sugar...goose each other at the peep show...jack off in the Ferris wheel...throw sperm at the moon rising red and smoky over the foundries across the river.”


Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs, 1959




''“THIS IS NOT A NOVEL”, the chapters are intended to be read in any order.''

 "The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork."

''Naked Lunch demands Silence from The Reader. Otherwise he is taking his own pulse…''

''Gentle reader, we see God through our assholes in the flash bulb of orgasm… Through these orifices transmute your body… The way OUT is the way IN…''

''You can cut into Naked Lunch at any intersection point...I have written many prefaces. They atrophy and amputate spontaneous like the little toe amputates in a West African disease confined to the Negro race and the passing blonde shows her brass ankle as a manicured toe bounces across the club terrace, retrieved and laid at her feet by her Afghan hound...
Naked Lunch is a blueprint, a How-To-Book...Abstract concepts, bare as algebra, narrow down to a black turd or a pair of aging conjones...''

William S. Burroughs, Introduction

Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs, Olympia Press, Paris, 1959   William S. Burroughs, Hotel Villa Mouniria Garden, Tangier

The book title was suggested by Jack Kerouac.
The narration of junkie William Lee, who takes on various aliases, from the US to Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the dreamlike Interzone.
The vignettes (which W.B.called "routines") are drawn from Burroughs' own experience in these places, and his addiction to drugs (heroin,
morphine, diacetylmorphine and while in Tangier, "Majoun"—a strong marijuana confection—as well as a German opioid, brand name
Eukodol, of which he wrote frequently).


Naked Lunch, 1991

Director David Cronenberg

Cinematography  Peter Suschitzky

Editing  Ronald Sanders

David Cronenberg on set of  Naked Lunch, 1991

The screenplay for Naked Lunch is based not only on Burroughs' novel, but also on other fiction by him, and autobiographical accounts of his life. It can be seen as a metatextual adaptation, in that it depicts the writing of the novel itself. Several characters are loosely based on people that Burroughs knew.

The film score is composed by Howard Shore, and features free jazz musician Ornette Coleman. The music of the Master Musicians of Jajouka is also featured throughout the film.


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