In Vino Veritas?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Philosophy


“I should like to try my hand at saying something about why so many illustrious (and thoroughly ordinary) writers have faced life with a pen in one hand and a bottle in the other. Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Melville, Sinclair Lewis, Steinbeck, Hart Crane, Dylan Thomas, Edgar Allen Poe, Eugene O’Neill – all these writers and many more have lived with drink somewhere close to the centre of their lives. In some of these cases, alcohol played a pivotal part in a premature demise, so the stakes were high where their drinking was concerned. Moreover, the question whether there might be some significant connection between literary creativity and alcohol must have some allure for anyone who truly appreciates beautiful literature and poetry. Quite simply, it would be very interesting to know if alcohol and literary creativity are allies of some sort. My philosophical speculations are meant as nothing more than reflective observations, but hopefully they can contribute something meaningful to an understanding of why so many writers have found a friend of sorts in drink.”

Book Description:
The history of literature is replete with substance-dependent writers and Writing Addiction considers the relationship between writing and addiction. The contributors to this volume explore questions such as: Do potentially addictive substances stimulate the artistic imagination? What is the relationship between desire for intoxication or euphoria and the compulsions of addiction? Is there a sense in which writing provides similar highs and compulsions? Are writing and substance addiction similar transgressive behaviours? Could it be that both writing and addiction are ways of losing control, or perhaps losing controls?