The Road of Excess
A History of Writers on Drugs
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
Harvard Univ. Press
FROM THE EROWID REVIEW #
- Review by Ashley Crawford, 2005 Jun 30
There is something a little bit scary about reading The Road of Excess -– this meticulous exploration of the influence of narcotics on literature is like a late night literary overdose. The author, Marcus Boon, is Assistant Professor of English at York University in Toronto, and his academic background shines through without bogging down this intriguing subject. Where it becomes scary . . . (more)
BLURBS #"The book is written in a buoyant tone, full of energy and excitement, whether disclosing a juicy fact or working through a knotty argument. It could be enjoyed by any reader with an interest in literature--or drugs. When it finds unknown grout it is exciting, and when it recrosses more familiar zones it always finds a way to renew interest in them."
-- David Lenson, author of On Drugs
"The Road to Excess explores exciting territory which, traditionally, literary criticism has (perversely) rendered rather dull. The attraction of this book is that, while Marcus Boon is never less than erudite, he is anything but dull. He writes pithily, with a wealth of fascinating detail and anecdote. Boon provides a new terminology and a set of critical concepts for those complex interactions of brain, psychoactive substance, and text which constitutes his subject. It will be his subject for some time to come."
-- John sutherland, University College, London
"A felicitous, beautifully written, and carefully documented confluence of the author's sophisticated understanding of psychoactive substances and his encyclopedic familiarity with the writins of the many influential literary figures who have explicated their personal drug experiences. It is a treasure trove for those who seek to enhance their understanding of the variety of uses of these drugs, and it simultaneously succeeds for both popular and professional audiences."
-- Lester Grinspoon, M.D., author of Marihuana Reconsidered and The Speed Culture
"A major contribution to the history and theory of literature, this book not only unpacks our gorgeous mythologies concerning drugs and writing, but recharges our fascination with and understanding of both. With Zen-like calm and profundity, Boon shows us how, through the ages, drugs illuminate writing, and vice versa. His knowledge is immense, his stories surprising, his attitude a novel mix of judicious delight."
-- Michael Taussig, author of Shamanism, Colonialsim and the Wild Man: A Study of Terror and Healing