There are a number kinds of literature that are meant bring clarity to issues through exaggeration, humor, surreal imagery, or absurdity. Some of the books present here enter the realm of transgressive fiction. In transgressive fiction characters may be mentally ill, addicted, anti-social, nihilistic, sex addicts, violent, and criminals. The purpose of the works are to illustrate how outsiders exist, and function in society. The works that are considered transgressive fiction and overtly sexual or showing the use of drug use, have often been banned, by the country, or church.
The descriptions below are from the publishers. I offer them without commentary, since, while I've read many of these, I haven't read a number of them. I thank Alan Dean Foster for his suggestions and comments helping with some choices.
Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogues his every feeling and sensation about the world and people around him. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which "spread at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time—the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain." Roquentin's efforts to come to terms with his life, his philosophical and psychological struggles, give Sartre the opportunity to dramatize trhe tents of his Existentialist creed.
A Dostoevskian psychological novel of ideas, Novel with Cocaine explores the interaction between psychology, philosophy, and ideology in its frank portrayal of an adolescent's cocaine addiction. The story relates the formative experiences of Vadim at school and with women before he turns to drug abuse and the philosophical reflections to which it gives rise. Although Ageyev makes little explicit reference to the Revolution, the novel's obsession with addictive forms of thinking finds resonance in the historical background, in which "our inborn feelings of humanity and justice" provoke "the cruelties and satanic transgressions committed in its name.
William S. Burroughs
"Naked Lunch" is the unnerving tale of a monumental descent into the hellish world of a narcotics addict as he travels from New York to Tangiers, then into Interzone, a nightmarish modern urban wasteland in which the forces of good and evil vie for control of the individual and all of humanity.
Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America.
In Metamorphosis the story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself trans¬formed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature. The cause of Gregor's transformation is never revealed, and Kafka himself never gave an explanation. The rest of Kafka's novella deals with Gregor's attempts to adjust to his new condition as he deals with being burdensome to his parents and sister, who are repelled by the horrible, verminous creature Gregor has become.
High-Rise: When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.
Crash: a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, Crash explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.
In A Clockwork Orange a vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?"
Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature.
Meursault is an indifferent French Algerian ("a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture"),who, after attending his mother's funeral, apathetically kills an Arab man whom he recognises in French Algiers. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively.
Although Colossus is a collection, the main work here is that is considered, observes a space flight, that goes so fast it breaks time, so far as to go back in time. And the astronaut, time traveler is present to see himself being welcomed into a world where all he knows waits his arrival existence. Another story features a thought, if this world has a single cell, and we are part of a greater organization, how many more universes might there be. Also overall, is this really happening, or does the story demonstrate a warped version of solipsism?
Hubert Selby, Jr.
Last Exit to Brooklyn remains undiminished in its awesome power and magnitude as the novel that first showed us the fierce, primal rage seething in America’s cities. Selby brings out the dope addicts, hoodlums, prostitutes, workers, and thieves brawling in the back alleys of Brooklyn.
Marquis de Sade
The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinism is a novel by the French writer and nobleman Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Described as both pornographic and erotic, it was written in 1785. It tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies. To do this, they seal themselves away for four months in an inaccessible castle in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, with a harem of 46 victims, mostly young male and female teenagers, and engage four female brothel keepers to tell the stories of their lives and adventures. The women's narratives form an inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually mounts in intensity and ends in their slaughter. The work remained unpublished until the twentieth century. In recent times it has been translated into many languages, including English, Japanese and German. Due to its themes of sexual violence and extreme cruelty, it has been banned by some governments.
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
Bret Easton Ellis
In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.
The Iron Dream is an alternate history novel a fictional fantasy classic entitled Lord of the Swastika, written by "Adolf Hitler". The first part explains that the deceased author Hitler was a sci-fi writer and that this novel was widely praised by the fandom. The third part is critical review of the novel and its aftermath.
HENRY MILLER (1891-1980) was an American writer and painter infamous for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel" that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional.
Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller’s famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, “one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century.”
Banned in America for almost thirty years because of its explicit sexual content, Tropic of Capricorn is the companion volume to Miller’s Tropic of Cancer chronicles his life in 1920s New York City. Famous for its frank portrayal of life in Brooklyn’s ethnic neighborhoods and Miller’s outrageous sexual exploits, The Tropic of Capricorn is now considered a cornerstone of modern literature.
Continuing the subversive self-revelation begun in Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, Henry Miller takes readers along a mad, free-associating journey from the damp grime of his Brooklyn youth to the sun-splashed cafes and squalid flats of Paris. With incomparable glee, Miller shifts effortlessly from Virgil to venereal disease, from Rabelais to Roquefort. In this seductive technicolor swirl of Paris and New York, he captures like no one else the blending of people and the cities they inhabit.
This tender and nostalgic work dates from the same period as Tropic of Cancer (1934). It is a celebration of love, art, and the Bohemian life at a time when the world was simpler and slower, and Miller an obscure, penniless young writer in Paris. Whether discussing the early days of his long friendship with Alfred Perles or his escapades at the Club Melody brothel, in Quiet Days in Clichy Miller describes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre.