Cut-up and Fold-in techunique

William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”

“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”

“The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.” ― William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

American novelist William Burroughs wrote a non-linear narrative novel called “Naked Lunch” in 1959.  The book is comprised of many short scenes loosely connected each other. Although there is a main character and something like a plot, it is hard to understand as a story.  Readers may read wherever they want.  The book evokes fragments of daydream by drug freak (Burroughs is famous for his drug and alcohol addiction). According to Burroughs (1962), British writer and painter Brion Gysin experimented with literary cut-up technique in 1959. The method became popular between 1950s and 1960s, and Burroughs and some writers used the method in their works.

Cut-up and Fold-in method

Cut-up and Fold-in are literary collage technique to create a new text from a original text.  Cut-up is performed by cutting an original text and divining it into several pieces.  After cutting, these sentence pieces are rearranged as a new text.  “Naked Lunch” is written using the cut-up technique.

Fold-in method requires to fold a pages in the middle and place it on another page.  The new text page consist of half of one page and half of another page.

Online Cut-up Laboratory

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Online Cut-up Laboratory provides text area which converts text into cut-up pieces of words.  Users can rearrange these words as they like.


Naked Lunch Quotes

William Burroughs, “The Cut Up Method” from Leroi Jones, ed., The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America (NY: Corinth Books, 1963).

Brion : CUT-UP

William S. Burroughs Cut-ups

Brent Wood. William S. Burroughs and the Language of Cyberpunk

Tristan Tzara. 1977. Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries, translated by Barbara Wright. London: John Calder.

Adamowicz, E. (ed.). 2006. Surrealism : crossings/frontiers.Oxford : P. Lang.

Burroughs, W. S. 1962. The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin. Texas: Totem Press.


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