Milk of paradise? Opium and opiates in nineteenth and twentieth century literature
Schäfer D.
Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin,
Medizinische Fakultät, Universität zu Köln, Deutschland. a
Schmerz. 2007 Aug;21(4):339-44, 346.


One cannot have an idea of this multifaceted theme without its medical and cultural-historical background. After a history of several thousand years as a remedy and consumer good, around 1800 this poppy drug was in the focus of public attention due to Brownianism, at first as an often self-prescribed unspecific remedy against physical and mental pain. Many representatives of the early Romanticism knew it from personal experience. However, it was the publication of Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821/1822) which made it a subject of international debate in accordance with the programmatic statements of writers of that epoque and corresponding to the antibourgeois attitude of these men. It became a motif of a counter-world experience and a subject and cause of lyric-subjective reflection as well as a possible premise of poetic creativity.
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