Megan Harlan
August 11, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Writing On Drugs

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Sadie Plant
publisher
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B

It’s enough to give you a contact high: Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during a six-day cocaine binge; opium helped inspire Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic tales; speed fueled Jack Kerouac’s composition of On the Road. In the concise survey Writing On Drugs, British historian Sadie Plant chronicles drug use in literary culture, exploring authors’ addictions and the creative highs and lows inspired by everything from morphine to mescaline. Despite the pithy title, Plant doesn’t manage to stay focused on creativity under the influence: Unoriginal rehashes of the Colombian drug wars and the CIA’s experiments with LSD make this otherwise stimulating history seem a bit diluted. B

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