drugs

Essays

The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse

The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse

In contrast to today's rather mundane spawn of coffeehouse chains, the London of the 17th and 18th century was home to an eclectic and thriving coffee drinking scene. Dr Matthew Green explores the halcyon days of the London coffeehouse, a haven for caffeine-fueled debate and innovation which helped to shape the modern world. more

Proving it: The American Provers' Union documents certain ill effects

Proving it: The American Provers' Union documents certain ill effects

What would induce physicians to ingest mercury to the point of vomiting and to painstakingly note down the effects of imbibing large amounts of cannabis tincture? Alicia Puglionesi explores the history of "proving", the practice of auto-experimentation which forms the cornerstone of homeopathic medicine. more

"O, Excellent Air Bag": Humphry Davy and Nitrous Oxide

"O, Excellent Air Bag": Humphry Davy and Nitrous Oxide

The summer of 1799 saw a new fad take hold in one remarkable circle of British society: the inhalation of "Laughing Gas". The overseer and pioneer of these experiments was a young Humphry Davy, future President of the Royal Society. Mike Jay explores how Davy's extreme and near-fatal regime of self-experimentation with the gas not only marked a new era in the history of science but a turn toward the philosophical and literary romanticism of the century to come. more

Wild Heart Turning White: Georg Trakl and Cocaine

Wild Heart Turning White: Georg Trakl and Cocaine

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death by cocaine overdose of Austrian lyric poet Georg Trakl, Richard Millington explores the role the drug played in Trakl's life and works. more

Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes

Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes

Used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas for millennia, it was only in the last decade of the 19th century that the powerful effects of mescaline began to be systematically explored by curious non-indigenous Americans and Europeans. Mike Jay looks at one such pioneer Havelock Ellis who, along with his small circle of fellow artists and writers, documented in wonderful detail his psychedelic experiences. more

Pantagruel
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