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By A. Taylor

Bacchus in Romantic England describes genuine drunkenness between writers and usual humans within the Romantic age. It grounds this 'reality' in writings by means of medical professionals and philanthropists from 1780 onwards, who describe a plague of drunkenness. those commentators supply a context for different ways in which poets and novelists of the age symbolize drunkards. Wordsworth writes poems and essays comparing the drunken occupation of his version Robert Burns. Charles Lamb's essays and letters display a true and metaphorical preoccupation along with his personal consuming as a manner of disguising his own anguish; his better half Coleridge writes ingesting songs, essays approximately drunkenness, and meditations approximately his personal weak spot of will that convey either festive inebriety and realization of an inward abyss; Coleridge's son Hartley, whose destiny his father had prophesied, studies drunkenness because the life-long humiliation defined in his poems and letters. Keats's advanced dionysianism runs via 'Endymion' and the overdue odes, surroundings him at odds together with his temperate hero Milton. males within the Romantic age, corresponding to Sheridan, Byron, Moor, and Clare, have a good time rowdy friendship with stories and songs of ingesting; Romantic girls novelists resembling Smith, Edgeworth and Wollstonecraft depict those males stumbling domestic to abuse their better halves. even though over the top consuming is genuine within the interval, observers and members can nonetheless retain ambivalence approximately its strength to free up or to debase the man or woman.

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Extra resources for Bacchus in Romantic England: Writers and Drink, 1780–1830

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Addictions to drink and drugs co-exist, and Romantic writers in England, like modern writers in the United States, celebrate and lament their own drinking. 3. Within these mythical and medical contexts, Romantic literary writers develop a variety of representations of drinking and drunkenness. They see drunkenness as a historical, sociological and medical reality; as an illness of an ambiguously physical and spiritual sort; as a psychology of multiple selves and a philosophy of secular hedonism; as an experiment in what can happen to the human being from outside forces or from internal ones; and as an expression of bodily pleasure and communal merriment.

De Quincey asserts that 'no quantity of opium ever did, or could, intoxicate. As to the tincture of opium (commonly called laudanum) that might certainly intoxicate, if a man could bear to take enough of it; but why? ' 66 Many important and obscure people did take opium, often dissolved in wine as laudanum, for whatever ailed them, from headaches to arthritis to anxiety. Many, like Coleridge, De Quincey, Dorothy Wordsworth, Jane Austen's mother, and William Wilberforce, began to use opium as medicine, then discovered the expanding perceptions and timelessness of the drug experience, and only gradually became so addicted to it that brains, bowels and will were disrupted.

E. Housman refers when he says 'Cambridge has seen many strange sights. ' 19 In Book III of the Prelude (1805) Wordsworth tells Coleridge about his 'empty noise and superficial pastimes' at Cambridge, and about 'a treasonable 40 Bacchus in Romantic England growth/ Of indecisive judgements that impaired/ And shook the mind's simplicity' (11. 211-13; 214-16). This unnatural self, not his true being, is the one to blame for the crass ravage of Milton's 'innocent nest': Among the band of my compeers was one, My class-fellow at school, whose chance it was To lodge in the apartments which had been Time out of mind honored by Milton's name The very shell reputed of the abode Which he had tenanted.

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