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
“In itself, Naked Lunch, is of very small significance. It consists of a prolonged scream of hatred and disgust, an effort to keep the reader’s nose down in the mud for 20 pages. Before reading it I had heard it described as pornography, but this is not the case. The object of pornographic writing is to flood the reader’s mind with lust, and lust is at any rate a positive thing to the extent that none of us would exist without it…Naked Lunch, by contrast, is unreservedly on the side of death. It seeks to flood the reader’s mind not with images of sexual desire but with images of pain, illness, cruelty and corruption.
“This is not in fact a very difficult thing to do, since all that is necessary is to brood on everything capable of arousing disgust and revulsion, let the images well up, and dash them down onto the paper.A book like Naked Lunch requires far less talent in the writer, and for that matter less intelligence in the reader, than the humblest magazine story or circulating-library novel. From the literary point of view, it is the merest trash, not worth a second glance.
“[Burroughs] doesn’t want to enjoy himself and he doesn’t want us to, either. Imagine him looking at a landscape and getting anything out of it! The nearest he gets to a description of pleasure, of anybody doing anything because they liked it, is in his obsessive descriptions of fearful sadistic violence … The only writer of any talent of whom Burroughs occasionally manages to remind one is the Marquis de Sade; but if one turns to the pages of Sade after Naked Lunch the resemblance soon fades, since Sade, however degenerate he can be at times, has always some saving wit and irony. Burroughs takes himself with a complete, owlish seriousness.
“Altogether, Naked Lunch offers a very interesting field for speculation, both pathological and sociological. No lover of medical text-books on deformity should miss it. The rest of us, however, can afford to spend our six dollars on something else.”