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High Anxieties

Cultural Studies in Addiction

Janet Brodie

Publication Year: 2002

High Anxieties explores the history and ideological ramifications of the modern concept of addiction. Little more than a century old, the notions of "addict" as an identity and "addiction" as a disease of the will form part of the story of modernity. What is addiction? This collection of essays illuminates and refashions the term, delivering a complex and mature understanding of addiction.

Brodie and Redfield's introduction provides a roadmap for readers and situates the fascinating essays within a larger, interdisciplinary framework. Stacey Margolis and Timothy Melley's pieces grapple with the psychology of addiction. Cannon Schmitt and Marty Roth delve into the relationship between opium and the British Empire's campaign to control and stigmatize China. Robyn R. Warhol and Nicholas O. Warner examine accounts of alcohol abuse in texts as disparate as Victorian novels, Alcoholics Anonymous literature, and James Fenimore Cooper's fiction. Helen Keane scrutinizes smoking, and Maurizio Viano turns to the silver screen to trace how the representation of drugs in films has changed over time. Ann Weinstone and Marguerite Waller's essays on addiction and cyberspace cap this impressive anthology.

Published by: University of California Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. vii-9

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-11

We gratefully acknowledge the Center for the Arts and Humanities of Claremont Graduate University and the Deans of the Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Scripps College) for their generous support of the...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

The essays collected in this volume stem from a conference held at the Claremont Colleges; like most of the presentations at that conference, they argue for connections between our notions of “addiction” and “culture” that go far beyond the commonplace that addiction, like any representable...

Part I. Constructions of Addiction

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pp. 17-29

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1. Addiction and the Ends of Desire

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pp. 19-37

The striking thing about Miss Penelosa, the mesmerist in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Parasite” (1894), is not that she can make her subjects perform certain actions, but that she can make them, against their will, experience certain desires. Engaged in a series of mesmeric experiments...

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2. A Terminal Case: William Burroughs and the Logic of Addiction

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pp. 38-60

“Addiction,” remarked social psychologist Stanton Peele in 1975, “is not, as we like to think, an aberration from our way of life. Addiction is our way of life.”1 By all accounts, this view has gained remarkable popularity in America. Not only are estimates of traditional substance abuse significantly...

Part II. Figures of the Orient

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pp. 61-73

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3. Narrating National Addictions

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pp. 63-84

In the work of Thomas De Quincey, the most immediately recognizable form of national self-definition is that of triumphant England vociferously announcing its supremacy. Consider, for instance, what is perhaps the most affect-laden such moment in De Quincey’s corpus, a dream-vision related in...

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4. Victorian Highs

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pp. 85-93

The early history of detective fiction is saturated with narcotic drugs. Edgar Allan Poe was an opium and Wilkie Collins a laudanum addict, and opium circulates through The Moonstone. Charles Dickens’s Mystery of Edwin Drood begins in an East End opium den, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Man with the...

Part III. Demon Drink

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pp. 95-107

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5. The Rhetoric of Addiction

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pp. 97-108

The goal of this chapter is to explore the intersections among narration, subjectivity, identity, and addiction to alcohol in canonical mid-Victorian fiction and in the discourse of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I’m interested in continuities and discontinuities between nineteenth- and twentieth-century...

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6. Firewater Legacy

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pp. 109-116

Alcohol’s threat to Native American life has been a persistent theme in American cultural history, from the earliest days of colonization to the present. It appears in such forms as Benjamin Franklin’s “specious little equation in providential mathematics: Rum [plus] Savage = 0” (as D. H. Lawrence so...

Part IV. Pleasures, Repressions, Resistances

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pp. 117-129

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7. Smoking, Addiction, and the Making of Time

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pp. 119-133

In anti-smoking discourse the smoker often appears as a squanderer of the precious and scarce resources of time. Not only does the purchase and consumption of the drug take up time in the smoker’s daily routine, but also the smoker’s attachment to its dubious pleasures is steadily subtracting...

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8. An Intoxicated Screen

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pp. 134-158

There is a drug war out there that, like all wars, has its deaths and innocent victims, atrocities, and destruction. There has been a war for some time, “America’s longest war” some call it, and I am for peace. Ironically, however, in order to ensure peace I have to fight, because if I do not fight I will not...

Part V. Trauma, Media, Cyberspace

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pp. 159-171

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9. Welcome to the Pharmacy: Addiction, Transcendence, and Virtual Reality

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pp. 161-174

It has become a truism to say that virtual reality (VR) is addictive. Case, the protagonist of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, dreams of connection to the net like a junkie jonesing for a fix. In Jeff Noon’s novel Vurt, you get to cyberspace by tickling the back of your throat with addictive, governmentproduced...

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10. If “Reality Is the Best Metaphor,” It Must Be Virtual

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pp. 175-190

“Avatars are Next,” the June 1996 issue of Wired announces on its cover, above a glossy foldout of Bill Gates in bathing trunks floating on a lemon yellow air mattress in a sensuous Hockney-blue swimming pool. “Mr. Bill goes Hollywood! Special Gatesfold Issue,” reads the caption underneath the...

NOTES

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pp. 191-223

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 225-226

INDEX

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pp. 227-232


E-ISBN-13: 9780520935709
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520227507

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2002

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Subject Headings

  • Substance abuse -- Social aspects.
  • Drugs and literature.
  • Drugs and motion pictures.
  • Alcoholism in literature.
  • Alcoholism in motion pictures.
  • Virtual reality -- Social aspects.
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