Category: 1800-1945

Reviews of psychedelic literature, trip lit and drug-related writing first published between 1800 and 1945.

Plant Intoxicants

Plant Intoxicants by Baron Ernst von Bibra

Originally published in Germany, in 1855, under the title ‘Die Narkotischen Genuβmittel und der Mensch’, this edition of Baron Ernst von Bibra’s ‘Plant Intoxicants’ was published in 1995 by Healing Arts Press. The book is a pioneering study of psychoactive plants and their role in society and was translated by...

Phantastica by Louis Lewin

Phantastica by Louis Lewin

Originally published in Germany in 1924 ‘Phantastica’ by Louis Lewin was first published in English in 1931. This review is written from the Park Street Press edition, 1998. The text is an early attempt at a categorisation of psychoactive drugs and while,  in many respects, it is dated,  especially pharmacologically,...

Artificial Paradises

Artificial Paradises by Charles Baudelaire

Originally published in France, in 1860, under the title ‘Les Paradis Artificiels’ (Artificial Paradises); Charles Baudelaire’s classic of drug writing is a blend of personal insight, translation, and morality discourse. The edition used by this review is the 1996 Citadel Press book, translated by Stacy Diamond. The Citadel Press edition...


Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey

  ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’ by Thomas De Quincey was first published, anonymously, in two parts by the London Magazine in 1821. The following year it appeared as a novel and has been regularly reprinted ever since. This literary review is written from the Penguin Classics (2003) edition; ‘Confessions...

The Seven Sisters of Sleep by Mordecai Cooke

The Seven Sisters of Sleep by Mordecai Cooke

Originally published in 1860 ‘The Seven Sisters of Sleep’ is a classic of Western drug literature. In over a hundred years, with no reprints until the end of the 20th century, the transformation in the importance of Mordecai Cooke’s book is exceptional. Titled in its first edition with a ‘popular history...


Demian by Hermann Hesse

When ‘Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth’ was first published in 1919, it was done so under the protagonist’s name, Emil Sinclair and its author, Hermann Hesse, didn’t use his own until its 10th edition. Told in the first person, ‘Demian’ is a fine example of a writer rising...

Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

“Imagine a garden with a hundred kinds of trees, a thousand kinds of flowers, a hundred kinds of fruit and vegetables. Suppose, then, that the gardener of this garden knew no other distinction than between edible and inedible, nine-tenths of this garden would be useless to him. He would pull...

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