Publication Date

3-1-2008

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In spite of its history and illegality, the use of absinthe, the aperitif made famous in fin de siècle Parisian cafés, is on the rise again in the United States and abroad. Writers and artists like Baudelaire, Verlaine, Wilde, van Gogh, Hemingway, Degas, Picasso and Gauguin all prominently featured absinthe in their writing and art, often attributing their creativity, as well as emotional instability, to the effects of la fée verte, or the green fairy. Consequently, absinthe has earned a reputation as a mysterious and dangerous substance capable of inducing all manner of psychosis, violence and passion. Yet contemporary science shows that the absinthe myth cannot be accounted for by the pharmacological reality. This article describes the history of absinthe and recent scientific developments, and uses a psychoanalytic framework to explain why the absinthe myth endures.

Publication Title

Food, Culture, And Society

Volume

11

Issue

1

First Page

87

Last Page

99

DOI

10.2752/155280108X2276069

Version

post-print with 18-month embargo

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