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High Anxieties

High Anxieties: Cultural Studies in Addiction

Janet Farrell Brodie
Marc Redfield
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 244
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppvsf
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  • Book Info
    High Anxieties
    Book Description:

    High Anxietiesexplores the history and ideological ramifications of the modern concept of addiction. Little more than a century old, the notions of "addict" as an identity and "addiction" as a disease of the will form part of the story of modernity. What is addiction? This collection of essays illuminates and refashions the term, delivering a complex and mature understanding of addiction. Brodie and Redfield's introduction provides a roadmap for readers and situates the fascinating essays within a larger, interdisciplinary framework. Stacey Margolis and Timothy Melley's pieces grapple with the psychology of addiction. Cannon Schmitt and Marty Roth delve into the relationship between opium and the British Empire's campaign to control and stigmatize China. Robyn R. Warhol and Nicholas O. Warner examine accounts of alcohol abuse in texts as disparate as Victorian novels, Alcoholics Anonymous literature, and James Fenimore Cooper's fiction. Helen Keane scrutinizes smoking, and Maurizio Viano turns to the silver screen to trace how the representation of drugs in films has changed over time. Ann Weinstone and Marguerite Waller's essays on addiction and cyberspace cap this impressive anthology.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93570-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Marc Redfield and Janet Farrell Brodie

    The essays collected in this volume stem from a conference held at the Claremont Colleges; like most of the presentations at that conference, they argue for connections between our notions of “addiction” and “culture” that go far beyond the commonplace that addiction, like any representable entity or event, is a phenomenon with a cultural side to it.¹ As presented here, addiction and culture become concepts that float and overlap, refer to and interfere with each other. Such a project may at first seem strange, or willfully perverse. The two terms have very different valences—one is negative, the other positive;...

  5. PART I. CONSTRUCTIONS OF ADDICTION

    • 1 Addiction and the Ends of Desire
      (pp. 19-37)
      Stacey Margolis

      The striking thing about Miss Penelosa, the mesmerist in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Parasite” (1894), is not that she can make her subjects perform certain actions, but that she can make them, against their will, experience certain desires. Engaged in a series of mesmeric experiments with Miss Penelosa, Professor Paul Gilroy discovers to his horror that she has made him fall in love with her: “Again, tonight, I awoke from the mesmeric trance to find my hand in hers, and to suffer that odious feeling which urges me to throw away my honour, my career, everything, for...

    • 2 A Terminal Case William Burroughs and the Logic of Addiction
      (pp. 38-60)
      Timothy Melley

      “Addiction,” remarked social psychologist Stanton Peele in 1975, “is not, as we like to think, an aberration from our way of life. Addiction is our way of life.”¹ By all accounts, this view has gained remarkable popularity in America. Not only are estimates of traditional substance abuse signiWcantly higher, despite declining narcotic and alcohol consumption, but treatment is being mandated for, and sought by, dramatically larger numbers of Americans. More significantly, medical institutions have adopted increasingly flexible definitions of addiction, creating vast numbers of new addicts and whole new categories of addiction.² The most striking feature of America’s general discourse...

  6. PART II. FIGURES OF THE ORIENT

    • 3 Narrating National Addictions De Quincey, Opium, and Tea
      (pp. 63-84)
      Cannon Schmitt

      In the work of Thomas De Quincey, the most immediately recognizable form of national self-definition is that of triumphant England vociferously announcing its supremacy. Consider, for instance, what is perhaps the most affect-laden such moment in De Quincey’s corpus, a dream-vision related in the final section of “The English Mail-Coach”:

      Tidings had arrived . . . of a grandeur that measured itself against centuries; too full of pathos they were, too full of joy, to utter themselves by other language than by tears, by restless anthems, andTe Deumsreverberating from the choirs and orchestras of the earth. These tidings...

    • 4 Victorian Highs Detection, Drugs, and Empire
      (pp. 85-94)
      Marty Roth

      The early history of detective Wction is saturated with narcotic drugs. Edgar Allan Poe was an opium and Wilkie Collins a laudanum addict, and opium circulates throughThe Moonstone. Charles Dickens’sMystery of Edwin Droodbegins in an East End opium den, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Man with the Twisted Lip” ends in one. As for other drugs that were soon to become illicit, Count Zaleski, M. P. Shiel’s dandiWed detective, smokes hashish cigarettes: the narrator of “The House of Orven” reports that “the air was heavy with the scented odor of . . . the fumes of the narcotic...

  7. PART III. DEMON DRINK

    • 5 The Rhetoric of Addiction From Victorian Novels to AA
      (pp. 97-108)
      Robyn R. Warhol

      The goal of this chapter is to explore the intersections among narration, subjectivity, identity, and addiction to alcohol in canonical mid-Victorian Wction and in the discourse of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I’m interested in continuities and discontinuities between nineteenth- and twentieth-century constructions of alcoholism in and through narrative, and in the imbrication of rhetoric and recovery in British and American culture. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this volume, I want to emphasize that I will not be making a traditionally “historical” argument here, in the sense that I will not argue for a cause-and-effect relationship between the models of addiction and...

    • 6 Firewater Legacy Alcohol and Native American Identity in the Fiction of James Fenimore Cooper
      (pp. 109-116)
      Nicholas O. Warner

      Alcohol’s threat to Native American life has been a persistent theme in American cultural history, from the earliest days of colonization to the present. It appears in such forms as Benjamin Franklin’s “specious little equation in providential mathematics: Rum + Savage = o” (as D. H. Lawrence so mordantly put it), as well as in the many Native American portrayals of liquor as an extension of white exploitation.¹ And the theme plays a central role in the depiction of Native American racial identity in the work of a profoundly influential purveyor of both myths and realities about Native Americans: James...

  8. PART IV. PLEASURES, REPRESSIONS, RESISTANCES

    • 7 Smoking, Addiction, and the Making of Time
      (pp. 119-133)
      Helen Keane

      In anti-smoking discourse the smoker often appears as a squanderer of the precious and scarce resources of time. Not only does the purchase and consumption of the drug take up time in the smoker’s daily routine, but also the smoker’s attachment to its dubious pleasures is steadily subtracting time from the future. The rate of loss has been quite precisely calculated—about 5½ minutes of life per cigarette, according to one source.¹ No wonder troubled smokers think of their habit as “an insidious slow form of suicide.”² Each cigarette consumes energy and income and brings illness and death one step...

    • 8 An Intoxicated Screen Reflections on Film and Drugs
      (pp. 134-158)
      Maurizio Viano

      There is a drug war out there that, like all wars, has its deaths and innocent victims, atrocities, and destruction. There has been a war for some time, “America’s longest war” some call it, and I am for peace. Ironically, however, in order to ensure peace I have to fight, because if I do not fight I will not contribute to the creation of a counterforce capable of opposing those who want to keep us in a state of war. Thus my writing, here, is also a form of fighting: I will fight by writing about film and drugs in...

  9. PART V. TRAUMA, MEDIA, CYBERSPACE

    • 9 Welcome to the Pharmacy Addiction, Transcendence, and Virtual Reality
      (pp. 161-174)
      Ann Weinstone

      It has become a truism to say that virtual reality (VR) is addictive. Case, the protagonist of William Gibson’sNeuromancer, dreams of connection to the net like a junkie jonesing for a fix. In Jeff Noon’s novelVurt, you get to cyberspace by tickling the back of your throat with addictive, government-produced feathers. Verity of Kathleen Ann Goonan’sQueen City Jazzsports nanotechnology implants that compel her to enter virtual worlds into which she sinks with feelings of deep bliss. As inVurt, in Pat Cadigan’sSynners, everything’s an addiction: cyberspace, people, rock and roll.

      But let’s move away from...

    • 10 If “Reality Is the Best Metaphor,” It Must Be Virtual
      (pp. 175-190)
      Marguerite R. Waller

      “Avatars are Next,” the June 1996 issue ofWiredannounces on its cover, above a glossy foldout of Bill Gates in bathing trunks floating on a lemon yellow air mattress in a sensuous Hockney-blue swimming pool. “Mr. Bill goes Hollywood! Special Gatesfold Issue,” reads the caption underneath the (photomontaged) naked torso. The U.S. Congress’s attempt in February 1996 to conceptualize the Internet as an incitement to indecent sexual conduct (in Section 507 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the so-called Computer Decency Act) is clearly the lampooned subtext of this juxtaposition of sexualized body with the concept of the avatar. The...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 191-224)
  11. ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 225-226)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 227-232)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)