Emperors of Dreams
Drugs in the Nineteenth Century
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BACK COVER #Coleridge and de Quincey swilling bitter draughts of opium, Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes dallying with cocaine, Baudelaire and Gautier rapt in hashish fantasies behind velvet curtains, even Queen Victoria swallowing her prescription dose of cannabis - these snapshot images are familiar, but what is the story which lies behind them? How did cannabis and cocaine, opium and ether, mushrooms and mescaline enter the modern world, and what was their impact on the nineteenth century's dreams and nightmares?
Emperors of Dreams tells the stories of how all these substances were first discovered, and paints a fresh and startling picture both of today's illicit drugs and of the nineteenth century. It shows that the age of Empire and Victorian values was awash with legal narcotics, stimulants and psychedelics, and traces otheir progress through the rapidly evolving worlds of science and colonial expansion, the demi-mondes of popular subculture and literary bohemia, and the rising tide of temperance and prohibition.