This invigorating work traces the cultural history of convivial drinking before the concept of addiction overshadowed intoxication's reputation as a creative, philosophical, and spiritual force. Marty Roth's Drunk the Night Before illustrates altered consciousness from myth to contemporary life, laying bare the behaviors and beliefs, sacred and secular, invested in intoxication. From the days of antiquity to the twentieth century, Roth follows the often veiled language of intoxication through religion and aesthetics, poetry and art, popular festivals and film. In this sweeping work, he examines the cultural roots of love potions and the fountain of youth, drunkenness in Hollywood cinema, the religious concept of a spiritual high versus the condemnation of intoxication. Roth reinvigorates the currently rebuffed connection between intoxication and artistic creativity, taking up by turn the poet Anacreon and the canon of drink poetry - from classical Greek to the European lyric, Euripides' Bacchae and the figure of Socrates in Plato's Symposium, the heavy investment of Western philosophy in intoxication, and the concepts of the carnivalesque in Friedrich Nietzsche and Mikhail Bakhtin. At once deeply erudite and irresistibly congenial, this encyclopedic work makes critical sense of the long history of alcohol as potion and poison, as pharmakon and catalyst, revealing altered states as the hidden thread in the story of sensation and Western cultural consciousness.
Marty Roth is professor emeritus of English at the University of Minnesota. A longtime member of the editorial board of Dionysos, a journal of addiction and culture, he is the author of many works, including Foul and Fair Play: Reading Genre in Classic Detective Fiction and Comedy and America: The Lost World of Washington Irving.
Contents AcknowledgmentsIntroduction 1. The Mysteries of Intoxication2. Drink Poetry, or, the Art of Feeling Very Very Good3. Double Dionysus: Ambiguities in the Discourse of Intoxication4. Socrates Undrunk: Literature Writing Philosophy in Plato's Symposium5. "Out, loathed med'cine! O hated potion, hence!": The Magic of Literary Drinks6. Spiritual Intoxication and the Metaphorics of Heaven7. Drinking In Style: a Horatian Aesthetic8. Carnival, Creativity and the Sublimation of Drunkenness NotesWorks citedPublication historyIndex.