Faculty Colloquium with Loren Glass titled "Lit: A Secret History of Cannabis and Modernity"

Picture of a book with a marijuana leaf on the cover
October 8, 2013 - 3:30pm
Gerber Lounge, 304 EPB

The history of psychoactive drugs and modern literature has been skewed by a disproportionate focus on opium and its derivatives.  The canon begins with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetic fragment “Kubla Khan” and Thomas DeQuincey’s scattered and incomplete Confessions of an English Opium Eater, which sparked a whole genre of imitators over the course of the nineteenth century, indelibly associating the writer on drugs with addiction and creative decline.  Starting with Baudelaire’s neglected Artificial Paradises and running up through Kerouac and Pynchon, this talk will chronicle and analyze an alternate canon, offering in response to the current emphasis on opiates and addiction an alternative focus that reveals a more productive relationship between chemically altered consciousness and literary creativity.