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Under the Influence



Spring 2010, "Arts & Letters"

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  • Whilst I have no doubts that for certain creative people mind altering substances may be useful most alcoholics and drug addicts are NOT creative

    Posted by roger Ramrocker on Thu 8 Apr 2010

  • Another entry:

    Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow" (1972)
    Marijuana. The strongest most world tilting marijuana available on the planet (or Mexico).

    Posted by Matt on Wed 14 Apr 2010

  • What reference was used to write this table?

    Posted by Felipe Machado Cardoso on Thu 15 Apr 2010

  • Interesting list, but why in the world would marijuana/hashish be categorized as a "downer"? Marijuana is a mild psychedelic, and belongs in the bottom-right category.

    In fact, what does the category "downer" even mean? It's traditionally used to identify CNS depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, etc) but here it's an odd mix of opiates and psychedelics.

    Posted by Rhayader on Mon 19 Apr 2010

  • Doesn't anybody drink wine? I like the "tea and sherry" for Carson McCullers

    Posted by on Mon 19 Apr 2010

  • Let's not forgot Ayn Rand: Benzedrine and Nicotine: Atlas Shrugged.

    Why do you think John Galt's speech is so damn long?!

    Posted by Kent Johnson on Mon 19 Apr 2010

  • Kerouac's On the Road, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and none of Hemingway's work made the list?

    Posted by gLblank on Mon 19 Apr 2010

  • What the hell is Faulkner's Road to Glory? Throw a stone and you'll hit a book he actually wrote on whiskey.

    Posted by EOlivera on Tue 20 Apr 2010

  • What, no Dylan Thomas? The man literally drank himself to death...

    Posted by mike on Wed 21 Apr 2010

  • Yeah, Peyote does it for me

    Posted by Artist on Wed 21 Apr 2010

  • Interesting, but Castaneda shouldn't really be on the list, he was a fraud and made up those experiences.

    Posted by Selmanruz on Thu 22 Apr 2010

  • Whither Philip K. Dick?

    Posted by Pat J on Mon 26 Apr 2010

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Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
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Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham's Quarterly. He also serves as editor emeritus and national correspondent for Harper's magazine.