Opium by Barbara Hodgson
A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon

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With its connotations of mystery and sinister beauty, opium holds a near mythical place in the popular imagination. From swaying poppy fields to dimly lit, smoke-laden opium dens, author Barbara Hodgson traces the path of opium's creation and consumption, and describes how it has been alternately rhapsodized, demonized, and anointed. A seductive muse that fueled the visions of artists, writers, and poets including Baudelaire, Coleridge, Wilde, and Poe, opium was also used in hundreds of commonly consumed patent medicines. Today, opium remains one of the most widely trafficked drugs and its story is by turns strange, comic, and dark. Illuminated by an amazing array of archival photographs, rare engravings, movie stills, and lurid dime store book covers, Opium is an engrossing look at this illicit indulgence.

About Barbara Hodgson

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Barbara Hodgson is a Vancouver-based writer, photographer, and designer. Her illustrated novels include The Tattooed Map, The Sensualist, and Hippolyte's Island.
Published January 1, 1999 by Chronicle Books. 152 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Far less ambitious and less didactic than Martin Booth's 1998 Opium: A History, Hodgson's volume excels in its plethora of quotes from Dickens, Sax Rohmer and Arthur Symons (represented by a remarkable sonnet), pictures from obscure yet revealing French painters, Chinese photographers and documen...

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