Cocaine Of The Expressionist Poets And The Movement As A Whole

815 Words Apr 11th, 2016 4 Pages
To fully grasp the importance of cocaine to the Expressionist poets and the movement as a whole, the history of substance abuse in literature and artistic circles of the years leading up to 1900 must be noted. Cocaine, while being a drug pharmacologically different from the choice recreational pharmaceuticals of the past, most notably opium and hashish, occupies a niche within the greater domain of drug culture among the Avant-Garde and the production of drug literature in particular. “The role of psychoactive drugs in European-and later also North American- literature of the Christian Era remained peripheral until the turn of the 19th century, when the Romantic preoccupation with the mysteries of the unconscious mind and the power of the irrational placed alternative states of consciousness- madness, dreams, somnambulism, hypnotism, intoxication- at the centre if popular attention.” Rimbaud reflects upon the poetic advantages of the consumption of psychoactive substances in a letter writing “Maintenant, je m’encrapule le plus possible. Pourquoi? Je veux etre poete, et je traville a me render voyant: vous ne comprendrex pas du tout, et je ne saurais Presque vous expliquer. Il s’agit d’arriver a l’inconnu par le dereglement de tous le sens.”
In the decades following works such as Confessions of an English Opium Eater, “Kubla Khan”, Le Fleurs du Mal, Les Illuminations, and many others, the pharmacological benefits of cocaine were popularized and medical professionals began…

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