The Romans of the Decadence (detail), by Thomas Couture, 1847. Musée d’Orsay.
Volume VI, Number 1 | winter 2012
Sent to suppress elements of Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, British soldiers made a soup seasoned with Datura stramonium, a hallucinogen, “the effect of which,” as an eighteenth-century historian put it, “was a very pleasant comedy; for they turned natural fools upon it for several days; one would blow up a feather in the air, another would dart straws at it with much fury, and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner, like a monkey, grinning and making mows at them.” D.
Modern life is often a mechanical oppression, and liquor is the only mechanical relief.—Ernest Hemingway, 1935