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This title in other editions

Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle


Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

    Hideous Absinthe boldly combines the art, literature, science, and social history of the nineteenth century to produce the story of a drink that came to symbolize both the high points of art and the depths of degeneration.

    Jad Adams looks at the myths of absinthe and examines its influence on the artistic movements of the nineteenth century. He considers the work of Degas, Manet, and Picasso, who painted what are now considered masterpieces depicting absinthe drinkers. He examines the mystery of van Goghs absinthe addiction and asks whether absinthe truly did contribute to the poetic vision of Verlaine, Rimbaud, and other writers.

    Adams looks back at absinthes contribution to the hedonistic culture of the French Second Empire and to Toulouse-Lautrecs Paris of the 1890s and details the outraged English reaction to absinthe in the context of resistance to French art. Absinthe was seen as a foreign poison undermining the national resolve just as the decadence of Oscar Wilde and his circle was seen to undermine national culture.

    The story continues through thrill-seeking American and English absinthe drinkers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Copublished with I.B. Tauris.

The Wisconsin edition is for sale only in North America.

Book News Annotation:

British television producer and author Adams explores the preoccupations and fears of the 19th century through myths that were created around the liquor flavored with wormwood and anise, and how art, science, and politics were conscripted into the battles over it.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Jad Adams is a television producer and author whose last book, Madder Music, Stronger Wine, received resounding critical praise. He has also written biographies of Tony Benn and of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. He lives in London and on the Greek island of Leros.

Product Details

Adams, Jad
University of Wisconsin Press
Social aspects
Beverages - Wine & Spirits
Criticism -- Theory.
Absinthe -- History.
Absinthe - Social aspects
Cooking and Food-Wines of the World
General History
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
12 color photos, 12 b/w photos
9 x 6 x 1.1 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Theory and Criticism
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Bartending and Liquor
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » General
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » Wines of the World
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wines and Beer
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking

Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages University of Wisconsin Press - English 9780299200008 Reviews:
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