Pipe Dreams - The Drug Experience in Literature

Coyote Arts


Pipe Dreams: The Drug Experience in Literature, edited and with an introduction by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert (who some of you might remember as a 50 Watts contributor!) / ISBN 9781587750267 / 428-page paperback from Coyote Arts, published late 2022


There are two histories of drug use: the social history and the secret history of subjective experience.

From antiquity to the present, people have sought artificial paradise in the stimulations and insights afforded by the use of intoxicants. Famous literary figures have often been the first to experiment with little-known drugs, and to champion their unique fascination upon the human imagination. In this remarkable anthology, a dazzling array of authors, including H. G. Wells, Marie Corelli, Guy de Maupassant, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Stephen Crane, Sadegh Hedayat, Santiago Dabove, Jean Cocteau, William James, Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, and a host of others from many cultures and historical periods, raids a pharmacopoeia containing ether, absinthe, morphine, hashish, opium, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, chloral hydrate, psilocybin, ayahuasca, carbon tetrachloride, LSD, amyl nitrate, ecstasy, and angel dust, in flights of descriptive prose of unparalleled suggestive power and visionary splendor.

Gilbert Alter-Gilbert is an essayist, anthologist, translator, and critic. His fictive histories Poets Ranked by Beard Weight and Desktop Digest of Despots and Dictators: An A to Z of Tyranny have been widely acclaimed. Gnostic Clock: A Tenebrist Miscellany, a collection of pessimist writings through the ages, is forthcoming from Coyote Arts.

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