It is like making a child, you need two people, and the film turns out looking a little bit like both of its “parents”.
—Cronenberg on Cosmopolis (2012)
It’s like Burroughs and myself fusing in the telepod of The Fly.
—Cronenberg on Naked Lunch (1991)
How fitting it is to consider these adaptations in terms so Cronenbergian: like the demented psychokinetic child projections of The Brood (1979) and the disfigured human-insect hybrid of The Fly (1986), Cronenberg’s reconfiguration of others’ work has made for a cinema as potent as it is perverse. Across twenty features, the Canadian director has not so much carved a niche as conceived it, earning acclaim as the originator of the body horror subgenre and crafting an aesthetic of singular proportions. That his style has remained so recognisable across a distinct diversity of subject matter would seem to position him as the ideal auteur, yet the equal division of his oeuvre along a line of original and adapted scripts penned by a plethora of other writers poses a problem of authorship only exacerbated by the fidelity with which his ten adaptations have been mounted. Across an array of original work from authors as varied as Stephen King and Sigmund Freud, Cronenberg has adapted novels, plays, graphic novels, epistolary correspondences, and even other films to his specific vision, all the while—or often, at least—preserving the peculiarities of his source. Toward an appreciation of this duality on which Cronenberg’s cinema is founded, and the questions of authorship and adaptation it raises, this essay will consider three films adapted from the work of authors as thematically and stylistically distinctive as he: Naked Lunch, from William Burroughs’ book (1959); Crash (1996), from the novel by J.G. Ballard (1973); and Cosmopolis, based on the book by Don DeLillo (2003).
The vagaries of Cronenberg’s career—begun with psychologically-oriented oddity in the student films Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970), progressing through ostensibly exploitative fare like Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), flirting with mainstream appeal in the studio films The Dead Zone (1983) and The Fly, turning toward transgression in Naked Lunch and Crash, and finding its firmest critical success yet with independent productions A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007)—have made for a body of academic discourse every bit as assorted as the director’s narrative concerns. Perhaps it’s surprising, then, that little overt consideration has been given Cronenberg as adapter; while studies are forthcoming on a film-by-film basis, few critics have considered the body of work as a whole in terms of adaptation. Research, then, is necessarily fragmentary, reliant on stray traces of adaptation and authorship theory peppered throughout interpretations of Cronenberg as Canadian, philosopher, and provocateur.
Mark Browning’s aptly-titled David Cronenberg: Author or Film-maker, if denied satisfying cohesion by its isolated consideration of the adaptations in sequence, is perhaps the definitive work thus far in this area of inquiry, a thorough consideration of Cronenberg’s cinema and its (in)effectiveness in relaying the concerns of its source material. While unmistakeably oriented toward certain suspect subjective interpretations, Browning’s book offers an enlivening account of Cronenberg as a decidedly literary filmmaker, whose adaptation of Burroughs and Ballard represents only the latest stage in a career studded with influence from both artists. But if Browning brings much to the argument in his comprehensive cataloguing of earlier influences apparent in Cronenberg, his is also a stance reductive in its essential relegation of the director to the status of metteur-en-scéne: scrutinising the work in terms of its ability to espouse the essence of its source is valid, of course, but Browning—in doing so to excess—misses the meta-textual nuance with which Cronenberg, in adapting the work, also comments upon it.
Explicitly addressing the process by which Burroughs’ loose narrative structure was adapted by Cronenberg to a (relatively) linear plot progression, Steffen Hantke recognises this nuance and roots its deployment and development of the novel’s concern with the act of writing in Cronenberg’s own experience with scripting. His understanding of the film, then, is not marred by complaints of divergence, but rather buoyed by an appreciation and analysis of Naked Lunch as an exemplar of adaptation-as-interpretation.
This is an aspect understood well by Irwin Jones, whose reading of Cronenberg through what he terms the “Burroughs/Ballard axis” invaluably evaluates the films as not just adaptations, but analyses too, whose divergences from their sources are less failures of fidelity than conscious contextualisations of their concerns in accordance with Cronenberg’s own outlook. He also usefully frames the debate within the idea of authorship, considering the proximity of the director’s personality to those from whom he adapts in search of some understanding of the ways in which the texts interact on the level of meaning. Working toward an appreciation of the philosophical perspective of the Cronenberg canon, Jones’ is perhaps hampered in his seeming suggestion that the director declines to directly engage with the ethical questions his work raises, neglecting to consider ample evidence to the contrary throughout Cronenberg’s prior and subsequent films. This reading, it might well be argued, is another which mistakenly allows the stature of the source material’s authors to overshadow the identity of their adaptor.
The claim to originality and a unique ontological identity is explored best by William Beard, whose interpretations of Cronenberg’s takes on Naked Lunch and Crash are underscored, unlike each of the aforementioned, by an integral understanding of the films as films, relaying meaning on the level of cinematic technique. While Beard’s article is alas only an overarching collection of stray thoughts on Cronenberg’s oeuvre, these observances are especially valuable given their alarming absence in his colleagues’ work. His discussion of Cronenberg’s use of cinematography and colour, especially with respect to Crash, also usefully ties the film to the director’s genre heritage, an important aspect of authorship in the films all-but ignored in considerations that chiefly foreground the identity and outlook of the adapted authors.
Less for lack of understanding—though reductive readings are rife in critical consideration—than simply due to the film’s recent release, significant sources on Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis remain elusive. Dennis Lim and Scott Thill are here useful, melding insightful interviews with the director and interpretive analysis of their own to offer a contextualisation of the film within the Cronenbergian tradition of difficult adaptations. Both focus on the manner in which Cronenberg’s sensibilities fuse with those of DeLillo, tracing the marriage of style back to the earlier films and identifying the latest as a career move very much in line with its maker’s trajectory.
We see, thus, that—especially in the wake of Cosmopolis’ release—a consideration of these Cronenberg adaptations and the complex questions of authorship they leave in their wake is both essential and, to any satisfying degree, absent. As such, it is pertinent to return to the roots of the authorship debate in both literary and cinematic theory: in efforts to appreciate the manner of Cronenberg’s adaption—and we might even say adoption—of these singular texts into his singular family of films, we turn of course to Barthes, whose debates as to the author’s “death” offer a firm framework within which to interrogate the texts’ extant and imbued meta-biographical aspects. Foucault’s own variation on Barthes’ ideas will also prove a useful expansion of the concept of author-as-construct, an essential component of this consideration of the Cronenberg films; both theorists’ arguments invigorate the debate, and beg the question of who, in adaptation, may be deemed the authorial authority. We will emerge, then, like the Brundle-fly from the telepod: our twin concerns of authorship and adaptation entwined in an essential understanding of the cinema of David Cronenberg.
[I]t is important to remember that Cronenberg was at the height of his career when he took on Naked Lunch, and that, judging by his earlier years of work in the film industry, there was little to predict such later success. In other words, certain aspects of Cronenberg’s adaptation reveal their full significance only in the context of Cronenberg’s career. (Hantke 165)
If the film of Naked Lunch is dependent on a familiarity with Cronenberg’s career, it is all the more so reliant on an appreciation of both Burroughs’ oeuvre and his personal life as he penned it. Less adapted from the novel than from the author himself—including ancillary material and infamous aspects of his relationships, most notably his accidental shooting of his wife—the film is not so much Cronenberg’s re-writing of the book as it is his reading of it. He explains it best himself: “I think of it as the product of a dream I would have about Burroughs and his book, a dream to which I bring all my particular obsessions and idiosyncrasies”. This outlook, as well as explicating the film’s oneiric qualities, emphasises the adaptation as anything but direct; Burroughs’ book-closing claim that “[y]ou can cut into Naked Lunch at any intersection point” is taken by Cronenberg as permission, who even then isn’t content enough to remain within the pages. His film, above all, is an unashamed indulgence in an author-heavy reading of the novel, taking cues from the writer’s life and background to explain and analyse the book’s concerns. Consider Foucault:
Using all the contrivances that he sets up between himself and what he writes, the writing subject cancels out the signs of his particular individuality. As a result, the mark of the writer is reduced to nothing more than the singularity of his absence; he must assume the role of the dead man in the game of writing. (2)
If this claim is correct, if Burroughs has indeed assumed the role of the dead man, then the film of Naked Lunch constitutes an act of resurrection. With its dogged efforts to reconstruct the text’s inception and the process by which it came to be, Cronenberg’s derivative is nothing if not a reading rendered on celluloid, his own personal attempt to divulge an author from a work given expression on-screen. The concentrated, conscious efforts of the film to arrive at an understanding of the author from whom the novel was spawned would likely find no favour with Barthes, for whom “all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes” (143). Yet Cronenberg too, as (re-)writer, is party to these principles that Barthes espouses; must Burroughs, as the source, not be one of Cronenberg’s constituent voices? The film foregrounds the author, Burroughs, as his own work’s Rosetta stone, therein refuting the notion that authorial identity can be ignored in the interpretation of output and pointing prominently to its essential importance. While much of the film’s dialogue is culled from the novel’s stream-of-consciousness prose, assigned to characters who speak in pseudo-fantastical mumbling, its key line comes directly from Cronenberg: “A writer lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is he files a report on it”. It’s an idea the director demonstrably understands, the perversity of prose with which Burroughs renders personal experience in oblique artistic terms; he famously referred to The Brood, a film of familial decline contemporaneous with his own embittered divorce and custody battle that featured the deformed psychic offspring of the protagonist’s wife committing brutal murders, as his version of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979): “The Brood got to the real nightmare, horrific, unbelievable inner life of the situation. I’m not being facetious when I say I think it’s more realistic, even more naturalistic, than Kramer” (Cronenberg 76). Cronenberg, then, has found in Burroughs a kindred spirit, an artist whose means and manner of expression suggest a shared subjectivity. And what is the author but the artist through whom Barthes’ several indiscernible voices are channelled? Says Jones of Cronenberg’s filtration of Burroughs’ fixations: “This approach rather appropriately maps onto the renewed focus in Cronenberg’s cinema on a more personalized thematic, putting more emphasis on the individual in contradistinction to the social” (202). The very idea of writing and reading, and indeed writing-as-reading, thus underpins the film, Cronenberg positing his work as an adaptation of Burroughs’ book much as Burroughs posits his novel as an adaptation of a distorted, damaged consciousness. Hantke’s words are helpful here:
[T]he result was a film self-consciously exploring its own status as an adaptation. Cronenberg himself calls this “an exercise in analyzing the difference between the two media… writing and cinema,” a programmatic statement considering the film’s interest in authors and their writing machines, the competition and collaboration between authors, and the origins of creativity in addiction, sexuality, personal and historical trauma, and insanity. (164)
The tenets of authorship are integral to Cronenberg’s take on Naked Lunch, which finds in a perceived sameness with Burroughs’ sensibility an understanding of the creative process undergone by each as, if not shared, then at least similar. It’s no surprise, thus, that his reading of Burroughs should emerge so utterly Cronenbergian, with the Mugwumps’ phallic protrusions—tellingly relocated from the novel—evidently indebted to Rabid and the assorted orifices appearing as though leftover from Videodrome (1983). As Barthes has it, “the true locus of writing is reading” (146), and if Cronenberg’s reading of Burroughs re-births him as a writer relatably lost in the haze of creative addiction, Browning’s reading of Cronenberg’s writing of Cronenberg’s reading—to verge on the absurd—relies on the film as an adaptation above an authorship treatise to its detriment. He elaborates:
Cronenberg is also interested in ‘the idea of parasitic symbiosis’, but in more overt sexual terms… Cronenberg presents the process repulsively both in the image of the figurine and its live counterpart because it represents the denial of artistic individuality, the Romantic notion underpinning his reading of Burroughs. (115-6)
Browning’s take, ironically, is itself a denial of artistic individuality, refusing Cronenberg’s right to render Burroughs’ text in his own succinct cinematic terms. In focusing to excess on an assumption of adaptation as translation rather than interpretation, he neglects to note the film as a treatise on precisely this kind of misreading.
If Naked Lunch, however incidentally, seemed to offer a refutation of Barthes and Foucault’s concerns about the author-as-construct, Crash might be said to do entirely the opposite. Where Burroughs’ influence on the director’s earlier work has been explicitly identified by Cronenberg himself, Ballard’s is more a matter of contention. Browning finds evidence in Dead Ringers (1988): “J.G. Ballard’s definition of schizophrenia as representing ‘the insane’s idea of the normal’, seems to be Cronenberg’s starting point” (82). Indeed it’s an idea that chimes with the director’s interpretation of Burroughs, whose impression on Ballard is—not least of all by way of forewords to editions of Naked Lunch—well-documented. What we have in the case of Ballard and Cronenberg, then, is arguably not so much artists with a directly identifiable influence on each other as a case of unique artistic outlooks equally influenced by a shared predecessor. But the proximity of their personal lives, each eking out an existence comparably uneventful to Burroughs’, is for Jones kinship enough for a shared sensibility: “What is worth saying here is that Cronenberg, by his own account, has lived a life more like Ballard’s than like Burroughs’s, a life of apparent suburban quietness that contrasts sharply with the “body horror” visions of his cinema” (208). This is a self-evident observance, perhaps, but one especially important to consider in the case of Crash, which in novel form flirts—if ironically—with the idea of autobiography. As Grundmann notes:
According to Cronenberg, what helped make the film both a successful adaptation and a work of art in its own right is his identification with Ballard, the author, and with Ballard's own identification with the protagonist of Crash, whose name - surprise! - is Ballard. Ballard the character embodies the imaginative life of his author, and Cronenberg has pointed out that he, like the latter, tends to distinguish between his imaginative life and his 'ordinary' daily existence… The book is a fictionalization of Ballard's subjectivity, related to us in confessional mode, and Cronenberg also acknowledges a certain personal interest in the subject matter. (24-5).
That subject matter—the fetishisation of technology, rife throughout Cronenberg, not to mention cars, the focus of his under-discussed Fast Company (1979)—is of less importance than the subjectivity, which eroticises with existential self-awareness the extra-ordinary. In probing the disconnectedness of modern life from the perspective of a character ostensibly aligned to his own life, Ballard’s novel ironically explores the perverse depersonalisation toward which contemporary society seemed to shift. Cronenberg, ever concerned with the same ideas, reproduces the novel’s concerns for a world that has scarcely changed. Perhaps it is because of the fidelity of the film of Crash—which Jones describes as “a more literalist reading of Ballard’s text, his film screenplay apes Ballard’s text almost word for word, scene for scene” (211)—to the novel that Browning, once again concerned for the source author, approves: “However, rather than neutralizing his influences, I would suggest Cronenberg fulfils and develops them, so that, according to Harold Bloom’s categories of influence, the film of Crash could be considered as a tessera, a work that ‘“completes” his precursor’” (133). This is primarily in response to the novel’s dwelling on celebrity, particularly with respect to cinema: Vaughan’s obsession with the idea of dying in a collision with Elizabeth Taylor offers ripe material for Cronenberg to explore through the screen, as in the scene where James Dean’s fatal car crash is reconstructed. The reconstitution of Ballard the character as a film producer is an additional incremental change, and one that inevitably invokes—even invites—consideration of the character and his relationship to Cronenberg. Beard comments that Cronenberg’s Crash’s “very beautiful, ultra-controlled, antiseptic cinematography and decoupage are superimposed on subject matter that is incendiary in its provocation, and the result is both a real art movie and a curiously exact counterpart to Ballard’s surgical prose coldly relaying demented and pornographic material” (155-6). Thus, thematically and technically, Cronenberg’s Crash is an adaptation whose adjustments not only serve the source, furthering its focus and therein deepening its effect, but which also relate the concerns back to Cronenberg’s own creative consciousness, tethering the two together in a position wherein their identity as individuals ironically relates to their output as authors. Grundmann summates it like so: “As auteurial signature and authorial handshake harmoniously complement one another, we are able to discover in the fictions of these authors a thing or two about the authors of the fiction, or better said, the author as a fiction” (24). But as much as this might interestingly corroborate Foucault—“It would be just as wrong to equate the author with the real writer as to equate him with the fictitious speaker; the author function is carried out and operates in the scission itself, in this division and this distance” (9)—Crash’s conscious deployment of this tension between the author-as-construct and the author-as-individual foregrounds the film’s focus on the novel’s existential aspects, its concerns over the manner in which the modern world has set us seeking increasingly outré forms of expression. It is interesting to note that, like Browning, Jones’ take on Crash is almost diametrically opposed to his interpretation of Naked Lunch. He writes:
Cronenberg’s film would thus seem to remain faithful to the letter of Ballard’s text. But it is this very literalness that would seem to be the problem. Taking the text as text, Cronenberg has indeed provided a careful adaptation. According to Ballard, however, this is precisely a text that shouldn’t be taken literally; it is a text that beckons beyond its surface to a different reality. Crash, in other words, is not what it appears to be. It appears to be a reckless affirmation of so-called postmodern nihilism. In reality, however, it is, at the least, very ambivalent about contemporary developments in terms of societal and personal relationships, and at its strongest, it is quite morally chastening in intent. If the text of Crash cannot provide clarity on this, Ballard’s aforementioned writings concerning the book are unequivocal. (211-2)
Precisely the observation Jones made of Naked Lunch, if applied here, might aid him in his outlook; by again emphasising the personal above the social in his adaptation, Cronenberg in Crash exacts an ironic tension between author and output that, however (un)intentionally, variously supports and circumvents Barthes and Foucault.
It is worthwhile, before we progress to Cosmopolis, to consider a claim Browning makes of Crash and the meta-filmic conceits of the novel that Cronenberg emphasises:
Ballard’s gradual approach towards the site of an accident evokes the fictional overtones that Cronenberg uses in his version of the pile-up sequence in Crash… The motorway pile-up seems to suggest a film set, rather than a real accident site and not just because of Seagrave’s reconstruction of the Mansfield crash… as James’ car slows in the traffic, Vaughan is already craning out of the car for the best shots and, later, as Catherine sits next to an accident victim, she takes on the appearance of a bored extra, smoking and mimicking the movements and gestures of the woman, before being called to take part in Vaughan’s bizarre photo-assignment. (145)
There is little here worthy of dispute, only a valid observance as to the manner in which Crash—indeed both iterations thereof—emphasises a cinematic consciousness. To a much greater extent even than his take on Crash, Cronenberg’s script for Cosmopolis follows the text almost verbatim, each line of DeLillo’s distinctive dialogue preserved with a fidelity that’s almost protective. A significant departure arrives, though, toward the end of the film, where the novel’s penultimate episode—a nude film shoot encountered on the streets of New York in the dead of night—is omitted entirely. Here it is pertinent to quote Cronenberg: “Yes, as soon as I read it, I thought: it’s not really happening, it is only in Packer’s mind. I don’t believe it. And I couldn’t see myself filming dozens of naked bodies in a street of New York. I am wary of films within films. It can be interesting, but only when it’s called for”. Yet given the director’s seemingly contradictory claim in the same interview—“To me, even if the book is unquestionably set in New York, it is a very subjective New York, we are actually in Eric Packer’s mind. His version of the city is mostly cut off from the realities of the street, he doesn’t really understand the people or the city itself”—we might well conclude that the reluctance to include the scene, as contrasted with the case of Crash, is born of a hesitance to invite overt consideration of the film on a meta-textual level. It is worthwhile noting that, like Videodrome did for virtual reality and reality television, the novel of Cosmopolis fulfilled an uncannily prophetic function in foreseeing the financial collapse of the late 2000s, therein imbuing it—and indeed its adaptation—with a fresh relevance now. To emphasise the film’s authorship, as the inclusion of this scene easily might have, is to foreground the features of its interaction with Cronenberg’s back catalogue, which, while relevant, diminishes the impact of its less Cronenbergian aspects. We turn again to Foucault:
The truth is quite the contrary: the author is not an indefinite source of significations that fill a work; the author does not precede the works; he is a certain functional principle by which, in our culture, one limits, excludes, and chooses; in short, by which one impedes the free circulation, the free manipulation, the free composition, decomposition, and recomposition of fiction. (14)
Loathe to lead his viewers to limit, exclude, and choose, Cronenberg in Cosmopolis, as distinct from Naked Lunch and Crash before it, declines to emphasise his own authorship in efforts to best serve both the source and its significance to the new world into which the film brings it. To overplay the sensibilities shared with his own oeuvre—“Those themes, from fetishized technology and mechanical sexuality to identity crisis and reconstruction, resonate not just throughout DeLillo’s novels but also Cronenberg’s many important films. What is Packer’s traveling mansion, tricked out with bleeding-edge convenience and finance technology, but Videodrome’s cybernetic New Flesh?” (Thill)—would be for Cronenberg to impart an authorial stamp that, rather than elucidating the material, would only obfuscate. As Barthes puts it: “To give an Author to a text is to impose upon that text a stop clause, to furnish it with a final signification, to close the writing” (146).
You have to know that each adaptation will be different. What you’ve done before will not help you on the next one. I’ve said before you have to betray the book in order to be faithful to the book. You have to recognize that literature is not cinema: they both do different things well, and there are certain things they cannot do that the other one can.
In each of his self-penned adaptations of novels from authors revered in their own right as singular artists, David Cronenberg enacts a betrayal essential to the production of a film that fuses his distinctive cinematic style with the literary voice of his source to produce a work at once entirely its own and yet whose full meaning relies on an understanding of whence it came. Variously invoking and eluding excessively auteurist readings, Cronenberg’s films of Naked Lunch, Crash, and Cosmopolis are adaptations that exploit the tenets of authorship to imbue the texts and the films derived from them with additional layers of meaning, a neat trick that aptly evidences Beard’s claim: “A filmmaker who does not control his or her scripts in some ultimate way is in danger of being demoted from the status of auteur to that of metteur-en-scène, mere stager of somebody else’s invention; and if there is one claim Cronenberg has wanted to maintain through thick and thin, it is that he is an original artist, not a formula hack” (146). Whether serving the material succinctly from the shadows, cautious not to invoke his own name unnecessarily, or foregrounding his presence with a forthrightness that might be mistaken for complacency, Cronenberg has showcased in these three films a keen awareness both of his own role as author and the essentiality of the idea of an author as an invaluable construct in his own toolbox. Says Jones, suggesting he himself feels the same way:
Cronenberg seems to consistently disavow both the ethical and philosophical dimensions of his films, whereas Ballard and Burroughs are happy to embrace these aspects of their literature. Whether this, ultimately, is a matter, as some critics have suggested, of Cronenberg’s not understanding the real meaning of his work, or whether it points to a genuine philosophical vacuum at the heart of his work, continues to perplex his audience (212).
But as he himself notes: “Cronenberg is conscious of what German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called “perspectivism”: the view that any and all perspectives are equally valid” (199). This is true of Cronenberg’s work not just philosophically, but ontologically: if he is an author aware of the limitations of his own authorship, he is also one alive with its possibilities as one among many means of interpreting his oeuvre. A parting word from Barthes: “In this way is revealed the whole being of writing: a text consists of multiple writings, issuing from several cultures and entering into dialogue with each other, into parody, into contestation; but there is one place where this multiplicity is collected, united, and this place is not the author, as we have hitherto said it was, but the reader” (147). As adapter, Cronenberg capably demonstrates that a text is as much a case of multiple readings, and an author the one with the power to direct them.
- Ascot Elite Entertainment Group. “Cosmopolis Production Notes”. Ascot Elite. April 24, 2012. Web. 24 March, 2014.
- Barthes, Roland. Image-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. Print.
- Beard, William. “Thirty-Two Paragraphs About David Cronenberg”. North of Everything: English-Canadian Cinema Since 1980. Eds William Beard and Jerry White. Alberta: The University of Alberta Press, 2002. 144-159. Print.
- Browning, Mark. David Cronenberg: Author or Film-maker? Bristol: Intellect Books, 2007. Print.
- Cronenberg, David, and Chris Rodley. Cronenberg on Cronenberg. London: Faber and Faber,1997. Print.
- Foucault, Michel. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon. Ed. Donald F. Bouchard. New York: Cornell University Press, 1977. Print.
- Grundmann, Roy. “Plight of the Crash Fest Mummies: David Cronenberg’s Crash”. Cinéaste 22.4 (1997): 24-27. Print.
- Hantke, Steffen. “Genre and Authorship in David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch”. Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Ed. R. Barton Palmer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 164-178. Print.
- Irwin, Jones. “From “Impassioned Morality” to “Bloodless Agnosticism”: A Philosophy of David Cronenberg Through the Burroughs/Ballard Axis”. The Philosophy of David Cronenberg. Ed. Simon Riches. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press, 2012. 197-216. Print.
- Jaehne, Karen. “David Cronenberg on William Burroughs: Dead Ringers Do Naked Lunch”. Film Quarterly 45.3 (1992): 2-6. Print.
- Lim, Dennis. “Cannes Film Festival: David Cronenberg on Adapting Unadaptable Books”. Arts Beat. The New York Times, 27 May 2012. Web. 24 March, 2014.
- Thill, Scott. “David Cronenberg’s Novel Mantra for Cosmopolis? ‘Let It Express Itself’”. Wired. Condé Nast, 24 August, 2012. Web. 25 March 2014.