Epilogue: Generic Variety in Marie Corelli’s Wormwood and Beyond

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


Tracing the legacy of Romantic addiction writing through the decadent literature of the later nineteenth century, this chapter examines the profusion of artistic invention within the aesthetic category of addiction. Colman particularly considers Marie Corelli’s Wormwood, an 1890 novel detailing absinthe addiction, and describes its engagement with different genres. Corelli’s novel contains elements of a thriller, a realist novel, and a decadent novel, and Colman argues that addiction presents the hinge by which such different narrative modes join in Corelli’s novel, due to addiction’s association with illness, crime, and repetitively scientific, materialist pursuit. The chapter concludes with a discussion of a related range of literary and artistic developments since the nineteenth century that engage the addiction aesthetic’s emphasis on intensified, repetitive orientation toward possibility.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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