Pioneer of Inner Space
The Life of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Hasheesh Eater
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BACK COVER #This is the never-before-told story of a true American original. Twenty-one-year-old Fitz Hugh Ludlow became the best-selling author of The Hasheesh Eater in the years before the Civil War. His best-seller related his visionary experiences with large, oral doses of hashish, along with his religious, philosophical and medical reflections on the latered states they produced. He became a celebrated figure in the Bohemian circles of New York City, along with such friends as Walt Whitman. A short-story writer, a drama and music critic and a journalist, he mingled with the high society of New York while dissolutely wandering among the disreputable, hard-drinking literati.
Ludlow's journey to the West Coast on the Overland Stagecoach in 1863 was a bold leap into the unknown, and his dispatches to the East were devoured by an eager public. In the company of renowned painter Albert Bierstadt (who later married Ludlow's ex-wife), he talked politics with Mormon leader Brighman Young and traded witticisms with Mark Twain in California, whom he encouraged to seek a wider audience in the East. Ludlow later wrote perhaps the first great novel on the theme of alcohol abuse, and then became a leading expert in the treatment of opium addiction after the Civil War.
Fitz Hugh Ludlow is largely unknown today, and his encouragement of mystical experience as mediated by (now-illegal) drugs has been concealed by neglect and fear for over a hundred years. With this book, this pioneer of the Wild West and the landscapes of the mind is finally illuminated as a quintessential American adventurer and man of letters.
BLURBS #"Drinking buddy of Whitman and Twain, New York Bohemian of the Sixties (the 1860s, that is), pioneer psychedelic psychonaut and frontier Pythagorean, America's first Hasheesh Eater and confessional junky--this is the definitive biography of our psychic great-grandfather--Fitz Hugh Ludlow."
-- Hakim Bey, author, TAZ
""The most long-awaited of any 19th-century American biography. Through a wealth of newly discovered data, Dulchinos describes the circumstances that led to the making of the 'American De Quincey'. Fitz Hugh Ludlow has at last found his biographer."
-- Michael Horowitz, founder, Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library