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Belarmin

Absinthe references.

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Aloha All,

 

If I am not mistaken, at one time someone was looking for any or all references made to absinthe in literature.

 

Yesterday I came across a reference to absinthe in Eric Ambler's, "A Coffin For Dimitrios". It was a minor reference. I'm not sure if this work was mentioned before.

 

If this is your thing let me know and I will point out its specific location in the text.

 

Cheers.

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“Then in 1900 everybody got down off his stilts; henceforth nobody drank absinthe with his black coffee; nobody went mad; nobody committed suicide; nobody joined the Catholic church; or if they did I have forgotten . . . Victorianism had been defeated”

~WB Yeats, George Watson's Yeats, Victorianism, and the 1890s

 

It isn't literature, per se, but it is from an author. Does that count?

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May I recommend Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen. An excellent book by one of my program's graduates, and it also mentions absinthe briefly.

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There's also a reference to absinthe in Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad:

 

"Here, you want to slow down on that drink," said Granny, as a waiter put down another bottle in front of Nanny Ogg. "I wouldn't trust any drink that's green."

"Its not like proper drink," said Nanny. "It says on the label it's made from herbs. You can't make a serious drink out of just herbs. Try a drop."

Granny sniffed the opened bottle.

"Smells like aniseed," she said.

"It says 'Absinthe' on the bottle," said Nanny.

"Oh, that's just a name for wormwood," said Magrat, who was good at herbs. "My herbal says it's good for stomach diforders and prevents sicknefs after meals."

"There you are, then," said Nanny. "Herbs. It's practic'ly medicine." She poured a generous measure for the other two. "Give it a go, Magrat. It'll put a cheft on your cheft."

Edited by Dom Lochet

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I. LOVE. Terry Pratchett. :heart: :heart: :heart:

I listened to Witches Abroad on audio, though, and I think I had the abridged version :thumbdown: 'cos I don't remember that bit.

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I just began to re-read the "Tarzan" series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and there are several references to un-named French characters and Tarzan himself sipping absinthe. Most are found in the first two books (Tarzan of the Apes, and The Return of Tarzan).

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I :heart: Calvin and Hobbes!

When I need a giggle, I'll grab a stack the C&H books and flip through them til I've gotten a fix.

For some reason, he never fails to remind me of my son. B)

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Chapter 23, from "The Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician" by Alfred Jarry

 

. . .

23

 

CONCERNING THE RINGING ISLE

 

TO CLAUDE TERRASSE

 

"Happy the sage," says the Chi-Hing, "in the valley where he lives, a recluse, who delights to hear the sound of cymbals; alone, in his bed, awakening, he exclaims: Never, I swear, shall I forget the happiness that I feel!"

 

The lord of the island, after welcoming us in these terms, led us to his plantations which were fortified by aeolian marker poles of bamboo. The commonest plants there were the side-drums, the ravanastron, sambuca, archlute and bandore, the kin and the tche, the beggar's-guitar and vina, the magrepha and hydraulus. In a conservatory there arose the many necks and geyser breath of the steam-organ given to Pippin in 757 by Constantine Copronymus, and imported into Ringing isle by Saint Cornelius of Compiegne. Here one could breathe in the perfume of the piccolo, oboe d'amore, contrabassoon and sarrusophone, the Brittany bagpipe, zampogna and English bagpipe; the Bengali chere, bombardon, serpent, coelophone, saxhorn and anvil.

 

The temperature of the island is regulated by consulting thermometers called sirens. At the winter solstice the atmospheric sonority drops from a cat's cursing to the buzzing of wasps and bumblebees and the vibration of a fly's wing. At the summer solstice, all the above-named flowers blossom, reaching a pitch of overshrill ardor like that of insects hovering over the plants of our native fields. At night, here, Saturn clashes together his sistrum and his ring. And, at dawn and twilight, the sun and moon explode like divorced cymbals.

 

"Ha, ha," began Bosse-de-Nage, wanting to tryout his voice before joining in the universal musical refrain; but the two heavenly bodies clashed together in a kiss of reconciliation and the planter celebrated this clangorous event thus:

 

"Happy the sage," he cried, "who, on a mountain slope, delights to hear the sound of cymbals; alone in his bed on awakening, he sings: Never, I swear, shall my desires go beyond what I already possess!"

 

And Faustroll, before taking leave, drank with him wormwood distilled on the mountain tops, and the skiff exhaled its chromatic course at the beat of my oars. Toward the two heavenly bodies striking the hours of union and division of the black key and the diurnal key, a little naked child and a white-haired ancient sang on two lofty columns; toward this double disk of silver and of gold they sang:

 

Node di_e que biba

 

The old man bellowed the selection of foul syllables, and the seraphic soprano took up the refrain accompanied by the choir of angels, Thrones, Powers and Dominions: ((... pet, a-mar mar, accu-pet, cu) pet) a-mar oc-cu, semper nos amor occupet. "

 

The white-bearded energumen concluded the coprolalic phrase with a throaty cry and an obscene contortion; at this moment, from our skiff, which was moored at the foot of this chubby and childlike body's stele, we could see the crumbling of his armor made of enameled cardboard or puppeteer's pasteboard and the blooming of the forty-five-year-old sistine dwarfs squalid beard.

 

From his throne perfumed with harps, the lord of the island gloried that his creation was good, and as we drew away we could hear this melody:

 

"Happy the sage who, on the hill where he dwells, delights to hear the sound of cymbals; alone in his bed, in awakening, he lies in tranquility and swears that he will never reveal to the vulgar the reason for his joy!"

Edited by Alfred Jarry

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"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon a third of the rivers, and upon the springs of water; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and a third of the waters became Bitter; and many people had died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

 

Revelation 8:10, 11 - King James Bible

 

:g:

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Ha ha! You're getting closer to the origin of the name Tatan. ;)

 

Wormwood's natural astringency and bitterness lent it to a lot of old herbal references like that. Luckily distillation separates the black toad from the white dove and true, distilled, absinthe leaves that bitterness quite "nerfed".

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Let's make the simple assumption that the bible was not written in the "Kings English". Did the English vernacular term wormwood come from a biblical description of a plant or did it come from a period relevant term for something bitter at the time of translation.

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Even among the English translations there is a lot of variation. The point here I think is that it's too bitter to drink. Funny though since wormwood has been used medicinally as well.

 

Ever make wormwood tea, or eaten raw wormwood, not the best tasting stuff. To most people... :devil:

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Sure when used the word was written in Greek in Revelations somewhere around the time of 50-70 BCE the direct translation was the artemseia plant, even though it was most likely a reference to the constellation scorpio, and sure at that time wormwood had long been used medicinally. But this was at that point in the history of the bible a concatenation of the use of the word. It was used in much earlier in the text from times much earlier when it was written in Hebrew where the word was much more generic and used to mean any bitter and poisonous plant (Hemlock for example) and still more likely a reference to the aforementioned constellation. And there is still a difference between translations (that which comes source materials) and rewording (that which is paraphrasing of translations). I think with a little research you will find that most of the "translations" on that web site are not really translations but rather versions.

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That was an awful long way of getting to the same conclusion.

 

You mean the New International Version is a version and not a translation? :fork:

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Sure when used the word was written in Greek in Revelations somewhere around the time of 50-70 BCE the direct translation was the artemseia plant, even though it was most likely a reference to the constellation scorpio, and sure at that time wormwood had long been used medicinally.

I love being a Scorpio.

 

But this was at that point in the history of the bible a concatenation of the use of the word. It was used in much earlier in the text from times much earlier when it was written in Hebrew where the word was much more generic and used to mean any bitter and poisonous plant (Hemlock for example) and still more likely a reference to the aforementioned constellation. And there is still a difference between translations (that which comes source materials) and rewording (that which is paraphrasing of translations). I think with a little research you will find that most of the "translations" on that web site are not really translations but rather versions.

True, forgive my abuse of the English language. I doubt that there are too many re-translations in English and most are merely versions.

 

I promised a few people not to talk about religion too much on this board but keep digging, you're looking for a language not found on google translate.

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Q: How many Scorpios does it take to change a light bulb?

 

A: Two. One to change the bulb, and one to make sure no one is watching.

 

:laf:

 

Regarding biblical wormwood: "wormwood" is merely a common name for the Artemisia genus, which contains over 126 species. A. absinthium is not native to the Middle East and the herb most likely referred to was A. judaica, native to Palestine.

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Luckily distillation separates the black toad from the white dove

La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe (the spit of the toad doesn't reach the white dove).

 

And here I thought I understood all of the seven operations of alchemy. laugh.gif

Edited by Alfred Jarry

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Being a fan of questions; I am compelled to ask these two.

Is Palestine not in the middle East?

What if the Wormwood Society was like the Heather Society ( http://www.heathersociety.org/ ) ?

Edit: never mind on the Middle East thing, wasn't implied other wise. (It's amazing what a few drinks will do to your reading comprehension.)

Edited by greenbird

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Carmen De Boheme

by Hart Crane

 

Sinuously winding through the room

On smokey tongues of sweetened cigarettes, --

Plaintive yet proud the cello tones resume

The andante of smooth hopes and lost regrets.

 

Bright peacocks drink from flame-pots by the wall,

Just as absinthe-sipping women shiver through

With shimmering blue from the bowl in Circe's hall.

Their brown eyes blacken, and the blue drop hue.

 

The andante quivers with crescendo's start,

And dies on fire's birth in each man's heart.

The tapestry betrays a finger through

The slit, soft-pulling; -- -- -- and music follows cue.

 

There is a sweep, -- a shattering, -- a choir

Disquieting of barbarous fantasy.

The pulse is in the ears, the heart is higher,

And stretches up through mortal eyes to see.

 

Carmen! Akimbo arms and smouldering eyes; --

Carmen! Bestirring hope and lipping eyes; --

Carmen whirls, and music swirls and dips.

"Carmen!," comes awed from wine-hot lips.

 

Finale leaves in silence to replume

Bent wings, and Carmen with her flaunts through the gloom

Of whispering tapestry, brown with old fringe: --

The winers leave too, and the small lamps twinge.

 

Morning: and through the foggy city gate

A gypsy wagon wiggles, striving straight.

And some dream still of Carmen's mystic face, --

Yellow, pallid, like ancient lace.

Edited by Alfred Jarry

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From Chapter 1, "The Hand of the Invisible," of August Strindberg's Inferno.

 

. . .

 

I go down to the dreadful Rue de la Gaiete in which the artificial mirth of the crowd annoys me; then down the gloomy silent Rue Delambre, which is more conductive to despair than any other street of the Quarter. I turn into Boulevard Montparnasse, and let myself fall on a seat on the terrace of the Lilas brewery.

 

A glass of good absinthe comforts me for some minutes. Then there fall on me a set of cocottes and students who strike me on the face with switches. As though driven by furies, I leave my glass of absinthe standing, and hasten to seek for another in the Café Francoius Premier on the Boulevard St. Michel. Out of the frying-pan and into the fire! A second troop shouts at me, "There is the hermit!" Driven forth again I fly home, accompanied by the unnerving tones of the mirliton pipes.

Edited by Alfred Jarry

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In the short story "Cafe Endless: Spring Rain", author Nancy Holder describes one of the characters getting an absinthe at a cafe in Tokyo.

 

"Satoshi picked up his absinthe and sipped the bitter liqueur. Discreetly he held it in his mouth so that the taste would linger when she kissed him" (emphasis is mine).

 

Reading this, I would assume that the author as some point has had experience with absinthe, although maybe not a very good one? I mean, absinthe is not really bitter. But I am also of the opinion that unsweetened coffee and tea are not bitter either. The liqueur part bothered me a bit though.

 

And I hold the absinthe in my mouth every time I drink it, so the taste lingers ;) That's why I was saying she may had taste it. Anybody else does this?

Edited by LadyCarmilla

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Waking this topic from the dead (sorry!) for a wonderful excerpt from Hemingway's "For Whom The Bell Tolls":

 

"What drink is that?" the gypsy asked.

"A medicine," Robert Jordan said. "Do you want to taste it?"

"What is it for?"

"For everything," Robert Jordan said. "It cures everything. If you have anything wrong this will cure it."

"Let me taste it," the gypsy said.

Robert Jordan pushed the cup toward him. It was a milky yellow now with the water and he hoped the gypsy would not take more than a swallow. There was very little of it left and one cup of it took the place of the evening papers, of all the old evenings in cafés, of all chestnut trees that would be in bloom now in this month, of the great slow horses of the outer boulevards, of book shops, of kiosques, and of galleries, of the Parc Montsouris, of the Stade Buffalo, and of the Butte Chaumont, of the Guaranty Trust Company and the Ile de la Cité, of Foyot's old hotel, and of being able to read and relax in the evening; of all the things he had enjoyed and forgotten and that came back to him when he tasted that opaque, bitter, tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy.

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