Opium: A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon

Overview

An exquisitely illustrated and fascinating short history of opium culture.

"Opium" will open people's eyes to the bizarre and shocking history of a drug that began with use in religious ceremonies, then raised high hopes as a cure for many ills in Victorian times and was regarded as an embodiment of the romantic East, leading to its horrific consequences today.

In her meticulously researched text, Barbara Hodgson delves into the nature and history of opium, focusing on its ...

See more details below
Paperback
$12.02
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $9.00   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

An exquisitely illustrated and fascinating short history of opium culture.

"Opium" will open people's eyes to the bizarre and shocking history of a drug that began with use in religious ceremonies, then raised high hopes as a cure for many ills in Victorian times and was regarded as an embodiment of the romantic East, leading to its horrific consequences today.

In her meticulously researched text, Barbara Hodgson delves into the nature and history of opium, focusing on its exotic incarnation as a drug to be smoked. As well as examining its factual history—in memoirs, science, and travel books—she explores portrayals of opium use in fiction and film.

The book captures the heady essence of the opium era and is packed with illustrations that trace the changing image of the drug: artifacts and apparatus of opium use; illustrations of opium dens in Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Toulon, and Canton; portraits of drug-taking writers; lurid covers of nineteenth-century illustrated newspapers and twentieth-century pulp-fiction drug titles; and stills from drug-related films.

Text and images in this beautifully designed book perfectly evoke the insiduous allure and devastating dangers of opium smoking.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A smoothly guided tour through the history of this often glamorized narcotic, Hodgson's slim volume is handsomely assembled and illustrated with woodcuts, sketches and photographs. It recounts how 19th- and 20th-century writers among them Baudelaire, Jean Cocteau and Graham Greene "elevated opium...to the status of a muse"; demonstrates "the box-office draw of drugs" in the era of silent film; describes the "opium clippers," sleek Victorian ships designed to transport the drug from India to China; and surveys the multifarious literature of opium-smoking, from firsthand reports of Hong Kong squalor to prurient pulp fiction. Opium was a popular ingredient in all sorts of Victorian and turn-of-the-century medicines. But since most North America opium smokers were Chinese immigrants, the drug provided an occasion for moral panic and anti-immigrant feeling. Far less ambitious and less didactic than Martin Booth's 1998 Opium: A History, Hodgson's volume excels in its plethora of quotes from Dickens, Sax Rohmer and Arthur Symons represented by a remarkable sonnet, pictures from obscure yet revealing French painters, Chinese photographers and documentation of crusaders and journalists such as P.B. Doesticks, who visited an opium den in New York City's Chinatown and found "a cube of smoke the size of the apartment, about the consistence [sic] of blancmange." Sept. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
The Chronicle Books editions are, as a rule, sensuous, but this sensual little book seems to attempt the heavy luxuriousness of Opium<-->the book's deep purple, heavy silk covering with gold script, an archive photo of a languorous "Shanghai Gal," and an embossed poppy. Inside are glossy pages plastered with illustrations (movie stills, engravings, magazine covers, and archival photographs) and text documenting the story of the growing, production, transport, selling, and especially, the consumption of the all-consuming . Hodgson, author, artist, and designer of two illustrated novels, and , addresses the influence of the Smoke on Cocteau, Baudelaire and Wilde, and on China and the West. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Weekly Editors Entertainment
This cutural history of the "drowsy poppy," decadently wrapped in purple silken fabric, is filled with maps, antique photos of Chinese opium dens, even pictures of 19th century opium laced medecine bottles (including one used for teething infants).
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553650584
  • Publisher: Greystone Books
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 1,450,402
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Hodgson is a book designer and writer and a founding partner at Byzantium Books in Vancouver, B.C. She is the author of "No Place for a Lady" among other nonfiction books. She has also published two novels, "The Sensualist" and "The Tattooed Map".

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
The Drowsy Poppy 11
Opium and the East 29
Intoxicating Fumes 53
The Writer's Muse 83
Chinatowns 105
Opium Hits the Street 133
Notes 141
Bibliography 144
Acknowledgements 148
Index 149
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)