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Drugs in literature: a brief history

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, opium

The Romantic poet composed one of his most famous works after taking laudanum laudanum (lôd`ənəm), tincture, or alcoholic solution, of opium, first compounded by Paracelsus in the 16th cent. Not then known to be addictive, the preparation was widely used up through the 19th cent. to treat a variety of disorders.  in 1797. After waking from a stupor in which he'd dreamed of the stately pleasure-domes of a Chinese emperor, he scribbled 'Kubla Khan'. Coleridge's addiction finally killed him in 1834.

Thomas De Quincey, laudanum

His autobiographical account of his addiction to opium, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, published in 1821, brought him almost overnight fame. The book set the template for many writers who attempted to follow in De Quincey's druggy drug·gy 1   Slang
adj. drug·gi·er, drug·gi·est
Of or relating to drugs or drug use: "boozy, druggy confessions" Vincent Canby. 
 footsteps and found an even wider audience when Baudelaire published a French translation in 1860 called Les paradis artificiels.

Charles Baudelaire, hashish hashish (hăsh`ēsh, –ĭsh), resin extracted from the flower clusters and top leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and C. indica.

Baudelaire was a member of the Club de Hachichins (Hashish Club), which met between 1844 and 1849 and counted Alexandre Dumas and Eugène Delacroix among its numbers. Baudelaire wrote widely on hash, saying: 'Among the drugs most efficient in creating what I call the artificial ideal... the most convenient and the most handy are hashish and opium.'

Robert Louis Stevenson, cocaine

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde For other uses, see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (disambiguation).
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde[1] is a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886.
 (1886) was written during a six-day cocaine binge. His wife Fanny said: 'That an invalid in my husband's condition of health should have been able to perform the manual labour alone of putting 60,000 words on paper in six days, seems almost incredible.'

Aldous Huxley, mescaline mescaline (mĕs`kələn), perception-altering substance found in peyote. See hallucinogenic drug.
mescaline

Hallucinogen, the active principle in the flowering heads of the peyote cactus.


In The Doors of Perception, his famous 1954 book, which inspired Jim Morrison's choice of band name, Huxley recounts at length his experience on the drug mescaline. Found naturally in the Peyote peyote (pāō`tē), spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii), ingested by indigenous people in Mexico and the United States to produce visions.  cactus, mescaline induces hallucinations Hallucinations Definition

Hallucinations are false or distorted sensory experiences that appear to be real perceptions. These sensory impressions are generated by the mind rather than by any external stimuli, and may be seen, heard, felt, and even
 and it is these Huxley found opened his mind and inspired him to write his book.

Jack Kerouac, benzedrine

The Beat writer took less than three weeks to pen On the Road (1957). However, it took him a further five years to edit it for publication.

William Burroughs, heroin

The other famed Beat writer drew on his experience of addiction throughout his writing, most notably in Junkie (1953) and Naked Lunch (1959). The latter was written in Tangier, Morocco under the influence of marijuana and an opioid called Eukodol.

Philip K Dick, speed

The great sci-fi writer's intensive use of speed and hallucinogens inspired much of his work. One particular drug, Semoxydrine - similar to speed - fuelled him in the manic production of 11 sci-fi novels, some essays and short stories all in the space of one year between 1963 and 1964.

Hunter S Thompson, everything

Thompson, pictured right, wrote the infamous 1972 book Fear and Loathing fear and loathing - (Hunter S. Thompson) A state inspired by the prospect of dealing with certain real-world systems and standards that are totally brain-damaged but ubiquitous - Intel 8086s, COBOL, EBCDIC, or any IBM machine except the Rios (also known as the RS/6000).  in Las Vegas, about a road-trip he had taken in 1971. His alter-ego narrator NARRATOR. A pleader who draws narrs serviens narrator, a sergeant at law. Fleta, 1. 2, c. 37. Obsolete.  sets out with 'two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter A written record of arrests and other occurrences maintained by the police. The report kept by the police when a suspect is booked, which involves the written recording of facts about the person's arrest and the charges against him or her.


BLOTTER, mer. law.
 acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers'.

Stephen King, cocaine

The great horror writer was addicted to cocaine between 1979 and 1987 and used it to create a buzz to write. 'With cocaine, one snort, and it just owned me body and soul,' he told The Observer in 2000.
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Nov 16, 2008
Words:511
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