Reading List: Opium

"A New Vice: Opium Dens in France", cover of Le Petit Journal, 5 July 1903.

“A New Vice: Opium Dens in France”, cover of Le Petit Journal, 5 July 1903.

In nineteenth-century England, opium was both a popular recreational drug and pharmaceutical (in the form of laudanum or poppy tea). The mysterious effect of the narcotic and the gloom of the “Oriental” opium dens spread across London appealed to many Victorian authors, and some Romantics claimed that the drug fueled dreams were a great source of creative inspiration.

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