SERIES: DRUGS UNCOVERED: DRUGS IN LITERATURE: A BRIEF HISTORY
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Opium
The Romantic poet composed one of his most famous works after taking laudanum in 1797. After waking from a stupor in which he'd dreamed of the stately pleasure-domes of a Chinese emperor, he scribbled 'Kubla Khan'. Coleridge's addiction finally killed him in 1834.
Thomas De Quincey, Laudanum
His autobiographical account of his addiction to opium, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, published in 1821, brought him almost overnight fame. The book set the template for many writers who attempted to follow in De Quincey's druggy footsteps and found an even wider audience when Baudelaire published a French translation in 1860 called Les paradis artificiels.
Charles Baudelaire, Hashish
Baudelaire was a member of the Club de Hachichins ( Hashish Club ), which met between 1844 and 1849 and counted Alexandre Dumas and Eugene Delacroix among its numbers. Baudelaire wrote widely on hash, saying: 'Among the drugs most efficient in creating what I call the artificial ideal... the most convenient and the most handy are hashish and opium.'
Robert Louis Stevenson, Cocaine
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ( 1886 ) was written during a six-day cocaine binge. His wife Fanny said: 'That an invalid in my husband's condition of health should have been able to perform the manual labour alone of putting 60,000 words on paper in six days, seems almost incredible.'
Aldous Huxley, Mescaline
In The Doors of Perception, his famous 1954 book, which inspired Jim Morrison's choice of band name, Huxley recounts at length his experience on the drug mescaline. Found naturally in the Peyote cactus, mescaline induces hallucinations and it is these Huxley found opened his mind and inspired him to write his book.
Jack Kerouac, Benzedrine
The Beat writer took less than three weeks to pen On the Road ( 1957 ). However, it took him a further five years to edit it for publication.
William Burroughs, Heroin
The other famed Beat writer drew on his experience of addiction throughout his writing, most notably in Junkie ( 1953 ) and Naked Lunch ( 1959 ). The latter was written in Tangier, Morocco under the influence of marijuana and an opioid called Eukodol.
Philip K Dick, Speed
The great sci-fi writer's intensive use of speed and hallucinogens inspired much of his work. One particular drug, Semoxydrine - similar to speed - fuelled him in the manic production of 11 sci-fi novels, some essays and short stories all in the space of one year between 1963 and 1964.
Hunter S Thompson, Everything
Thompson, pictured right, wrote the infamous 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, about a road-trip he had taken in 1971. His alter-ego narrator sets out with 'two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers'.
Stephen King, Cocaine
The great horror writer was addicted to cocaine between 1979 and 1987 and used it to create a buzz to write. 'With cocaine, one snort, and it just owned me body and soul,' he told The Observer in 2000.
Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Observer