Interrelation between the Author and the Text in W. S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club


  • Viktoria Grivina V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine



transgressive fiction, the limit, mirror stage, fragmented body, J. Lacan, Naked Lunch, Fight Club


Article adopts Jacques Lacan’s concept of the “mirror stage” to study the mechanisms of the way the Author’s identity evolves in W. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch and Ch. Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Evolution of the Author is set against general process of personal growth. The study is primarily concerned with features of the Author’s evolution within transgressive fiction, as Chuck Palahniuk and William Burroughs are the key figures of this genre. Transgression presupposes addressing social taboos by explicating them, thus creating strong reactions within the readership. We argue and find evidence that Burroughs and Palahniuk in the process of facing their perfect images of the Author digress from what Lacan would consider normal development. When they are given a chance to produce a unified body of text, the writers chose unconscious strive for fragmentation instead. Fragmented images invade Naked Lunch and Fight Club. However the mirror stage in the case of Palahniuk and in the case of Burroughs differ. While Burroughs in the myth of the Interzone ends up rejecting the notion of unique Author as such, Palahniuk accepts the fact that he managed to form a new niche for transgressive fiction and stays true to this niche, continuing similar aesthetics in the works that follow. 

Author Biography

Viktoria Grivina, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Department of the history of foreign literature and classical philology

V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Svobody sq., 4, 61022, Kharkiv, Ukraine


Burroughs W. Naked Lunch. London, 2005, 289 p.

Burroughs W. The Job. London, 1970, 224 p.

Foucault M. Language, counter-memory, practice : selected essays and interviews. Ithaca, 1980, 240 p.

Harris O. William Burroughs and the secret of fascination. Ithaca, London, 2006, 304 p.

Hume K. Aggressive Fictions. Cornell, 2011, 216 p.

Kennet P. Fight Club and the Dangers of Oedipal Obsession. Stirings Still. The International Journal of Existential Literture, 2005, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 48–64.

Kleinman G. Chuck Palahniuk – Author of the Fight Club. Available at: (accessed 1 September 2014).

Lacan J. Ecrits. New York, London, 2007, 896 p.

Murphy T. Wising Up the Marks: The Amodern William Burroughs. Berkeley, 1997, 276 p.

O’Hagan S. Fight Club (Interview). Observer. Sunday 8, May 2005, pp. 25–27.

Palahniuk Ch. Fight Club. New York, 1997, 218 p.

Price M. A. The Fight for Self. Available at : (accessed 1 September 2014).

Sartain J. A. Even the Mona Lisa is Falling Apart. The Cultural Assimilation. Stirings Still. The International Journal of Existential Literture, 2005, vol 2, no. 2, pp. 40–52.

Tomlinson S. Is it Fistfighting or just Multitasking? Art And Entertainment. Oct 13 1999. Available at: (accessed 14 September 2014).




How to Cite

Grivina, V. “Interrelation Between the Author and the Text in W. S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 89, Nov. 2014, pp. 247-55, doi:10.31861/pytlit2014.89.247.



Comparative Literary Studies