Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience: Charlotte Bronte, Louisa May Alcott, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Diane di Prima, Carrie Fisher, and Many Others

Overview

• An anthology of writings by some of the most influential women in history on the often misunderstood and misrepresented female drug experience.

• With great honesty, bravery, and frankness, women from diverse backgrounds write about their drug experiences.

Women have been experimenting with drugs since prehistoric times, and yet published accounts of their views on the drug experience have been relegated to either antiseptic sociological studies or sensationalized stories splashed across the tabloids. The media...

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Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience: Charlotte Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, Anaïs Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Diane di Prima, Carrie Fisher, and Many Others

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Overview

• An anthology of writings by some of the most influential women in history on the often misunderstood and misrepresented female drug experience.

• With great honesty, bravery, and frankness, women from diverse backgrounds write about their drug experiences.

Women have been experimenting with drugs since prehistoric times, and yet published accounts of their views on the drug experience have been relegated to either antiseptic sociological studies or sensationalized stories splashed across the tabloids. The media has given us an enduring, but inaccurate, stereotype of a female drug user: passive, addicted, exploited, degraded, promiscuous. But the selections in this anthology—penned by such famous names as Billie Holiday, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, and Carrie Fisher—show us that the real experiences of women are anything but stereotypical. 

Sisters of the Extreme provides us with writings by women from diverse occupations and backgrounds, from prostitute to physician, who through their use of drugs dared cross the boundaries set by society—often doing so with the hope of expanding themselves and their vision of the world. Whether with LSD, peyote, cocaine, heroine, MDMA, or marijuana, these women have sought to reach, through their experimentation, other levels of consciousness. Sometimes their quests have brought unexpected rewards, other times great suffering and misfortune. But wherever their trips have left them, these women have lived courageously—if sometimes dangerously—and written about their journeys eloquently.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Sisters of the Extreme is a great collection and well worth a read, for those who like great literature and who are interested in Woman/Gender Studies.”

"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience."

"It is amazingly complete. This book is an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. . . . a book for reference, for spiritual openings, for delight in reading."

"The richness of subjective materials is exquisite. Many drug researchers tend to forget that the subjective experience is the raison d'etre for drug use. Books like this one are an important counterbalance to the objective checklists of clincians. The book contains some of the best expositions of sensory detail this reviewer has ever read."

"This lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries."

James A. Cox
"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience."
changes.org
"It is amazingly complete. This book is an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. . . . a book for reference, for spiritual openings, for delight in reading."
www.changes.org
"It is amazingly complete. This book is an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. . . . a book for reference, for spiritual openings, for delight in reading."
Psychedelic Press UK
“Sisters of the Extreme is a great collection and well worth a read, for those who like great literature and who are interested in Woman/Gender Studies.”
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
"The richness of subjective materials is exquisite. Many drug researchers tend to forget that the subjective experience is the raison d'etre for drug use. Books like this one are an important counterbalance to the objective checklists of clincians. The book contains some of the best expositions of sensory detail this reviewer has ever read."
William Gargan
"This lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries."
January 2013 Psychedelic Press UK
“Sisters of the Extreme is a great collection and well worth a read, for those who like great literature and who are interested in Woman/Gender Studies.”
The Midwest Book Review James A. Cox
"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience."
From the Publisher

"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience."
Cape Times
It is scholarly yet not academic, exhaustively researched, and contains an indispensable bibliography. The spectrum of substances documented is comprehensive. For the adolescent, the general reader, the psychonaut, the literary/social historian, or the lone wolf looking to find a home on Mars, Sisters of the Extreme is an indispensable and insirational work.
Library Journal
The two books under review report on the use of various drugs, from opium to ecstasy, throughout the ages. With Sisters of the Extreme, Palmer and Horowitz (coeditors of Moksha: Aldous Huxley's Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience) have updated their 1982 anthology, Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady. Following a historical introduction, the authors present firsthand accounts of women on drugs, from Victorian times to the present. Among their subjects are Jane Addams, Edith Wharton, Caresse Crosby, Billie Holiday, Laura Huxley, Anita Hoffman, Bonnie Bremser, and Susan Sontag. Their stories range from sordid tales of heroin addiction and prostitution to quests for spiritual enlightenment. Through these selections, the editors succeed in demonstrating that women's experiences with drugs are "more varied and complex than stereotypes suggest." With over 120 illustrations, this lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries. The title of Plant's (Zeroes & Ones) book is somewhat misleading. While it discusses various writers associated with drugs, from Thomas De Quincey and Charles Baudelaire to William S. Burroughs and Henri Michaux, it quickly veers off into broader matters. More of a cultural history, the book examines the role of drugs in society from a variety of disciplines, including history, political science, psychology, philosophy, medicine, and economics. The topics covered range from Sigmund Freud on cocaine to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on capitalism and schizophrenia, from the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking to the neurochemistry of psychoactive substances, and from the connectionsbetween drugs and witchcraft to an examination of the marketing of Coca-Cola. Plant has a gift for synthesis and manages to weave the diverse threads of her study into a coherent and generally readable book. Recommended for academic libraries.--William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Internet Bookwatch
Sisters Of The Extreme is an informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience includes a variety of works from such notables as Bronte, Alcott, Di Prima, and more. Writings from historical works through modern times are gathered in Sisters Of The Extreme, a fine survey of the lives and experiences of women who have had their lives changed by drugs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892817573
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 904,856
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Longtime drug historians, Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz are the directors of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, the nation’s largest private collection of drug literature. They are also the editors of Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience. Mr. Horowitz is the editor of Timothy Leary’s Chaos and Cyberculture and a bibliography of his writings.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Preface

Introduction 

Images of Women and Drugs in Myth and History

Opium and the Victorian Imagination

Expatriates and Vagabonds

Mainline Ladies

Psychedelic Pioneers

Beats and Hippies

Choosers and Abusers

Shaman Women at the End of the Millennium

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