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Absinthe, the Cocaine of the Nineteenth Century: A History of the Hallucinogenic Drug and Its Effect on Artists and Writers in Europe and the United States

Overview

With an alcohol content sometimes as high as 80 percent, absinthe was made by mixing the leaves of wormwood with other plants such as angelica root, fennel, coriander, hyssop, marjoram and anise for flavor. The result was a bitter, potent drink that became a major social, medical and political phenomenon during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; its popularity was mainly in France, but also in other parts of Europe and the United States, particularly in New ...
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Overview

With an alcohol content sometimes as high as 80 percent, absinthe was made by mixing the leaves of wormwood with other plants such as angelica root, fennel, coriander, hyssop, marjoram and anise for flavor. The result was a bitter, potent drink that became a major social, medical and political phenomenon during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; its popularity was mainly in France, but also in other parts of Europe and the United States, particularly in New Orleans.

Absinthe produced a sense of euphoria and a heightening of the senses, similar to the effect of cocaine and opium, but was addictive and caused a rapid loss of mental and physical faculties. Despite that, Picasso, Manet, Rimbaud, Van Gogh, Degas and Wilde were among those devoted to its consumption and produced writings and art influenced by the drink.

This work provides a history of "the green fairy", a study of its use and abuse, an exploration of the tremendous social problems (not unlike the cocaine problems of this century) it caused, and an examination of the extent to which the lives of talented young writers and artists of the period became caught up in the absinthe craze

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Editorial Reviews

The American Herb Quarterly
Fascinating...reading
Booknews
Focusing mostly on writers and artists in France and New Orleans, explores the role of the wormwood-based, anise-flavored drink in the perceptions and subjects of their work. Verlaine, Rimbaud, Wilde, Van Gough, Picasso, Poe, and Jack London are among those discussed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786419678
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/22/2004
  • Edition description: ALT
  • Pages: 195
  • Sales rank: 1,317,032
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Doris Lanier is an associate professor emerita of English and philosophy at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 A History of the Drink 1
2 Abuse and Prohibition in France 14
3 Verlaine, Rimbaud, Wilde and the Others 46
4 From Van Gogh to Picasso 75
5 New Orleans and Elsewhere in the United States 123
Conclusion 152
References 157
Bibliography 169
Index 177
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An entertaining reference on the history of Absinthe

    This book is a fascinating inside look into the history of absinthe, the green fairy. It describes its beginnings in Europe, particularly France, and how it efected the culture there. Absinthe was outlawed several times as it was thought to be a threat to French culture, and was even blamed as the reason the French had to lower their minimum height requirement for the French military. Beyond its effects in France, this book also adresses the drink's unique effect on the human body, and how artists of all types soon developed a weakness for the drink.

    Overall, and excellent though short read. I would highly reccomend this book to anyone that is interested in Absinthe's history and effect in Europe.

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