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Milestones on addiction that have influenced generations, these works reflect the long history of documenting struggles with alcohol and other drugs in literature, offering readers insight into how substance abuse touches many times, places, and circumstances. Of interest for their literary merits as much as their subject matter, these classics are an excellent choice for readers who value the therapeutic value of artistic expression and, above all, appreciate a tale well told.
On the Road
On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is considered by many to be the heart of the beat movement. On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. A formless book, it describes a series of frenetic trips back and forth across the United States by a number of penniless young people who are in love with life, beauty, jazz, sex, alcohol, speed, and mysticism.
Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in a Tangier, Morocco, hotel room between 1954 and 1957. and his literary experiment--the much-touted "cut-up" technique--mirrored the workings of a junkie's brain. But it was junk coupled with vision: Burroughs makes teeming amalgam of allegory, sci-fi, and non-linear narration, all wrapped in a blend of humor--slapstick, Swiftian, slang-infested humor.
The Sun Also Rises
The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. Alcohol and post-World War I anomie fuel the plot in an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions.
Appointment in Samarra : A Novel
O’Hara’s classic novel about the excesses of the “Hangover Generation” focuses on the self-destruction of a social elite, Julian English. Appointment in Samarra brilliantly captures the personal politics and easy, alcohol-fueled bitterness of small-town life. It is O’Hara’s crowning achievement, and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence of a major American novelist.
The Doors of Perception
Among the most profound explorations of the effects of mind-expanding drugs ever written, Aldous Huxley, author of the bestselling Brave New World, reveals the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness in this confessional tale of his experimentation with mescaline. This novel served as a step-by-step account of his experiences on the drug.
Confessions of An English Opium Eater
The earliest recognized popular literary work to reference the then-legal opium. Forging a link between artistic self-expression and addiction, Confessions seamlessly weaves the effects of drugs and the nature of dreams, memory, and imagination. First published in 1821, it paved the way for later generations of literary drug users, from Baudelaire to Burroughs, and anticipated psychoanalysis with its insights into the subconscious.
Alcohol Library @LibraryThing
AlcoholLibrary @ Goodreads