Title: White Rabbit: A Psychedelic Reader.
Editors: John Miller and Randall Koral.
Genre: Fiction, non-fiction, anthology, drugs, short stories, essays, literature.
Publication Date: April 1, 1995.
Summary: This mind-expanding volume examines the literature on drugs and drug users in a comprehensive anthology that allows adventurous readers to experience the full range of both medicinal and recreational pharmacopoeia, from opium to ecstasy, as captured by some of the world's most imaginative writers. In Search of Yage (1975) is a letter written by William S. Burroughs to Alin Ginsberg about taking Yage in Macau. Westward (1973) by Peter Matthiessen, an excerpt from The While Leopard, tells of the author's experience taking LSD with a woman named D. In The Man with the Golden Arm (1949), an excerpt from the novel of the same name, "Frankie Machine" visits a dealer named Louie for his fix of morphine. Opium (1866) by Florence Nightingale is an excerpt from the writing she had done after coming back from the Crimean War with a damaged back about how opium had helped her pain. The Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952) by Amos Tutuola, an excerpt from the novel The Palm-Wine Drinkard and His Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Dead's Town, is about a man who goes in search of his dead palm-wine tapster when he falls off the palm and dies, and gets sent to capture Death with a net in exchange for directions. Drinking Absinthe with Van Gogh (1888) by Paul Gauguin is a short excerpt from the author's writings about drinking absinthe with the famous artist. The Electric Cough Syrup Acid Test (1993) by Jim Hogshire is a short story in which the author tells of his experimentation with Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (cough syrup). Detox Diary (1930)** by Jean Cocteau is a tale of the author's addiction to opium, and his recovery therefrom. The Achieve Of, the Mastery of the Thing (1981) by Laurie Colwin is a short story about a young professor's wife who has spent every day of her marriage high on weed and doing not a hell of a lot, a fact to which her husband is completely oblivious. In The Sign of Four (1890)** by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an excerpt from a novel of the same name, Sherlock Holmes takes cocaine and talks to a disapproving Watson about the uniqueness of his mind that sometimes requires it. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) by Philip K. Dick, an excerpt from a novel of the same name, discusses colonists on Mars who take a drug called Can-D that "translates" them into alternate bodies and situations, far from their dreary existences. Soma (~between 1500-1200BC), an excerpt from a hymn of the Rigveda, talks about the benefits of soma, a Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indians. Ferrari (1989) is an excerpt by Miles Davis from his autobiography Miles, and describes a couple of coke-related occurrences from his life. The Doors of Perception (1954) is an excerpt from an essay of the same name by Aldous Huxley that describes an afternoon of taking mescaline and reflecting on the effects of the drug both on his body and mind. The African Fang Legends is an excerpt from a creation myth of the Fang people in northwestern Africa, wherein a religious discipline called Bwiti relies heavily on the psychotropic qualities of the eboka bush, and includes two first-hand accounts of initiates' experiences on the drug. The Double Room (1869) by Charles Baudelaire is a prose poem which describes the poet's near-erotic appreciation of laudanum. Kathmandu Interlude (1989), an excerpt from True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna, wherein he takes LSD and DMT in Kathmandu, Nepal and has sex with a woman on the roof. Down the Rabbit-Hole (1865) is an excerpt from the novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, wherein Alice falls down the rabbit-hole and has to experiment with some eatables to regulate her size. When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro (1971) is an excerpt from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream**, and describes the moment the drugs hit Thompson and his attorney as they drive to Las Vegas. Hasheesh (1854) is an excerpt from the article The Vision of Hasheesh, in which the author experiences an intense trip on hasheesh in Damascus. The Taking of Majoun (1972) is an excerpt from Paul Bowles's autobiography Without Stopping, in which he describes how plentiful majoun was in Tangier, and the way he took it. Comedy of Thirst (1872) by Arthur Rimbaud is an excerpt from a poem of the same name that deals specifically with absinthe. Wormwood (1890) is an excerpt from the novel Wormwood: A Drama of Paris, which is about Gaston Beauvais, a well-bred banker, and his absinthe-soaked descent into hell, and tells specifically about when he decides to try absinthe for the first time. Psychedelic Sessions (1964) by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert is an excerpt from the book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, that serves as a guide to using psychedelic drugs, and focuses on the reasons and goals, dosages and types of drugs, and the preparation and setting for the trips. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) is an excerpt from an autobiography of the same name that deals the author's laudanum addiction and its effect on his life. Mister Morpheus (1930) by Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (known as Mister Morpheus, Public Poisoner) is a piece in which Gilbert-Lecomte personifies the narcotic drive as Mister Morpheus. Coca (1884) is an essay by Sigmund Freud originally known as Über Coca, in which he expounds and advocates for the use and usefulness of cocaine for many physical, as well as therapeutic, maladies. Postcards from the Edge (1987) is an excerpt from the autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher, which chronicles Hollywood's fascination with drugs in the 1980s. The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) is an excerpt from the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens, in which characters go looking for an allegedly murdered Edwin who has allegedly been spotted at an opium den. On Hashish and Mental Alienation (1854) by J. Moreau de Tours is an excerpt from one of the earliest documents describing the action of hashish and hallucinations under its effect. LSD (1962) by Alan Watts is an excerpt from the book The Joyous Cosmology, in which he discusses the effects of LSD. In Opium Nights (1840) is an excerpt from a letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford, in which she describes the relief opium brings her for pain, especially going to sleep. On Ecstasy (1986) by Sean Elder is an article that describes the author's forays into and experiences with ecstasy. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) is an excerpt from a novel of the same name, which describes Dorian taking comfort in opium inside an opium den after committing a brutal murder. The Story of Caliph Hakem (1843) by Gérard de Nerval is an excerpt from a novella of the same name about about the founder of the Druze faith, in which hashish plays an essential role in this adventure of the mythical caliph. The Blood of a Wig (1967) by Terry Southern is a short story about the cutting edge drug culture of the mid-60s and the trailing edge culture of literary pretentious and mawkishly sleazy men’s magazines. Kubla Khan (1797) is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, known as Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment, and was composed one night after he experienced an opium-influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China Kublai Khan.
**Refer to the title link for the original entry with quotes and information.
My rating: 8/10.
From the Introduction:
Drugs, particularly hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin, don't just create a separate reality for the individual user. They create a separate reality that is collective. Drugworld, located somewhere off the coast of Western society, is not to be confused with Wonderland. Drugworld has patron saints (Hofmann; mycologists Gordon and Valentina Wasson), but it also has schisms and theological disputes. It has its clergy (underground chemists, contraband farmers) and its apostates (authors of self-help books). It has a Great War (America's "War on Drugs"), resistance heroes (William S. Burroughs), legions of nostalgic veterans, and too many walking wounded to count.
And of course, Drugworld has its own storehouse of art. Peter Max's butterflies hang next to Van Gogh's absinthe drinkers, Gauguin's Buddah and Dali's everything. Robert Heinlein and Herman Hesse share a shelf with Aldous Huxley. Carlos Castaneda is over there by Cocteau. If a visitor scratches his head, wondering how these works came to co-exist within the same theme park, well, that head may need more... expanding.
...Viewed from the proper distance, the shores of Drugworld sparkle with genius.
Now there was no way I could know if I was correctly adhering to social customs. I didn't even know how to modulate my voice. Was I talking too loud? Did I look like a regular person? I understood that I was involved in a big contraption called civilization and that certain things were expected of me, but I could not comprehend what the hell those things might be.
All the words that came out of my mouth seemed equal. Instead of saying "reduce it about 90 percent" I could have said "two eggs and some toast, please." The whole world was broken down into elemental parts, each being of equal "value" to the whole - which is to say, of no value at all.
~~The Electric Cough Syrup Acid Test by Jim Hogshire.