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Introduction

  • Adam Colman
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

Colman describes the genesis of the addiction aesthetic, a category of aesthetic experience grounded in historically specific understandings of drug use and addictive habit. He locates the rise of this aesthetic category in the work of nineteenth-century writers who discerned in addiction patterns similar to those of exploratory science—especially patterns of repetitive experiment. Colman provides an overview of how eighteenth-century Brunonian medicine, named after Dr. John Brown, presented to writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge a sense of connections between habitual intoxication, habitual scientific exploration, and literary patterns. The addiction aesthetic charted by Coleridge and others across the nineteenth century, Colman argues, relies upon one particular connection between scientific, literary, and intoxicating pattern: a shared modality, or orientation to possibility. In the case of the addiction aesthetic Colman describes, this is a modality of repetitive, intensely exploratory orientation toward possible worlds.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Colman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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