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Absinthe :History in a Bottle

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That is a very well done book. Worth the time. If you want a quick read, and just enough overview and info to make you dangerous, try Absinthe, Sip of Seduction by Wittles. It's like the Cliff's Notes of modern absinthe information. I really liked Absinthe, The Cocaine of The Nineteenth Century, by Lanier. Some really interesting little facts that I hadn't read elsewhere. It's tough, however, to find a copy at any reasonable price.

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There is a short blurb in this book that puts Edgar Allen Poe "at the scene of the crime" (so to speak):

 

Edgar Allen Poe, 1848. Poe and his friend Henry Beck Hirst, a lawyer interested in international copyright records and ornithology, regularly visited the Philadelphia offices of publisher John Sartain, a well-known absinthe drinker. Here Poe and Hirst learned to drink what must have been a nearly fatal mixture of absinthe and brandy. After imbibing, Hirst, with his passion fir birds, would morosely urge Poe to recite, once again, "The Raven". Poe's drinking brought an early death, but Baudelair, who tranlsated Poe into French, felt that alcohol was essential for Poe's writing, "a magic conveyance that transported him to the enchanted spaces of the unreal."

However, over on www.PoeSpirits.com, they say:

There are reports he enjoyed absinthe which was often the choice of artistic types during that period. We believe he did not drink absinthe. One often quoted reference is, "History In A Bottle' by Barnaby Conrad" and we hold that Poe indulged in absinthe in dispute. Poe's use of absinthe is a nonsense that has grown as a written rumor will often do, like so many other inaccurate sensational-isms about Poe that only serve the author, not history and certainly not the memory of Eddie Poe.

 

Thoughts?

 

-Robert

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While it certainly merits more investigation, I'd be more inclined to believe a source that seems to know more about Poe. Absinthe seems to bring out all sorts of unfounded claims. We see some in almost every book on absinthe out there.

 

Here Poe and Hirst learned to drink what must have been a nearly fatal mixture of absinthe and brandy.

Tremblement de Terre?

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From the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore website, this page seems as well researched as any fanblog can be expected to be. (scroll to the bottom)

A more important probable source, at least indirectly, is a book by John Sartain, although it has apparently been grossly misinterpreted...

 

Although the statement that Poe and Hirst were "rollicking companions" suggests that they were inclined to go out drinking together, Sartain's references to absinthe are in regard to Hirst, not Poe, and all suggest a date after Poe's death in 1849. As is widely repeated, modern use of absinthe dates back to 1792, when it was invented or rediscovered by a French doctor named Pierre Ordinaire, but it was only after French troops began to return from years of battle in Algiers (1844-1847) that it became a part of Parisian night life (see, Conrad, Absinthe, pp. 87 and 90). It was just entering use in the United States as Poe was about to die, and he would have had scant opportunity to acquire the habit. (It might also be noted that Poe had moved to New York in 1844, while Hirst and Sartain remained in Philadelphia, severely reducing the possibility of socializing.) In any case, there is no indication in Sartain's accounts of Poe that the great writer had any direct connection with absinthe, and in the absence of such evidence the foul charge must be dismissed, no matter how appealing the idea might be to fans of absinthe. Poe's name, at least, may safely be removed from the list of writers who sought inspiration in the bitter embrace of the "Green Fairy."

Also:

This claim about Poe appears to have gained attention chiefly from its publication by Barnaby Conrad III in his book Absinthe: History in a Bottle (San Franciso: Chronicle Books, 1988)

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There are currently several between $35.00 and $70.00 on Amazon.com. I was lucky and snagged one on ebay for about $15.00 a while back, but usually it goes for much more. I always check Amazon to see the going rate on any kind of media before getting involved on ebay. Many times you can just buy the piece for less than ebay prices.

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Barnaby Conrad's absinthe book could use an update and some corrections, such as the often mistaken belief that Jung & Wulff's Milky-Way, Solari's Green Opal, and Legendre Herbsaint, were pre-ban New Orleans absinthe brands. These brands all appeared post prohibition, and were absinthe substitutes.

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I'm waiting ever so patiently for my copy.

 

Tappity tappity tappity :cheers:

 

+1! Oh my is this ever a +1.

 

I got the chance to read a few older absinthe books at a university library, and found the Lanier and Adams books too focused on the supposed "dangers" of the drink. Some worthwhile tidbits, though overshadowed by the tone for me. The Baker book was quite enjoyable. I own the Conrad and Wittels books, liked the former though it is a tad older in info and wished the latter were more clear in saying why fauxsinths are indeed faux. I got the sense of walking on eggshells w/r/t some of the actual absinthe controversy. And there are only so many times one can read "elixir" before the eye-rolling makes one dizzy.

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Cocaine is such an '80's drug, as embarrassing as acidwashed jeans, leg warmers or Butt Rock, IMNSHO. :thumbdown:

 

I would gladly have Absinthe be the Absinthe of the 21st century, and dammit, Jim, I'm trying to Do My Part here!

 

And well done on the Poe research, I heard that he liked the stuff from a few sources but it just never really rang true with me. Glad to know those not as lazy as I have done the legwork.

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DMT is a very evil drug, especially the N,N-DMT variety found in ayahuasca

 

DMT is found in the 3 major admixture plants (as well as in many other plants):

It is a natural compound found in many things. Evil has nothing to do with it.

It can be a very beautiful thing.

 

Chacruna (Psychotria viridis)

 

Chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana)

 

Jurema (Mimosa hostilis)

 

The actual Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), contains no DMT and can be used by itself.

 

The admixture plants are often added to the Ayahuasca vine to add more intense visions to the brew ceremony.

(Usually only 1 admixture plant + the vine).

 

Ayahuasca is not a recreational drug. It is ancient spiritual medicine. There are even religions that use Ayahuasca regularly (Santo Daime, União do Vegetal).

 

Ayahuasca is sacred and very special, not evil. :)

 

Many **edit (uninformed) edit** people consider absinthe evil, but not me :heart: .

 

To become well informed on Ayahuasca, check out these links:

 

Ayahuasca Forums

 

Ayahuasca - Amazonian Great Medicine

 

General Introduction To Ayahuasca

 

Ayahuasca SpiritQuest

 

Enjoy!! :biggrin:

Edited by cuz

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Back to the book in question: what image is on the very first page? The previous owner of my copy liked it sooo much he (or she) cut it out with a razor blade. It was a library copy too! No wonder absinthe has a bad reputation.

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