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Sisters In Opium: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Louisa May Alcott January 14, 2010

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, radiant opium addict. “I am writing such poems – allegorical – philosophical – poetical – ethical – synthetically arranged! I am in a fit of writing – could write all day & night – and long to live by myself for three months in a forest of chestnuts & cedars, in an hourly succession of poetical paragraphs & morphine draughts.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to her brother, 1843. “Opium – opium –…

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O. Henry’s Morphine Overdose, Pay-Scale, and Advice to Writers October 28, 2009

Recently, while on recon for Book Patrol, I discovered Fog in Santone, a short story by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910) set in San Antonio Texas and loaded with morphine. In it, O. Henry limns the nexus of tuberculosis, desperate sufferers, and drug addiction amongst the sick and “sporting class” with lighthearted morbidity. In contrast to Fog in Santone, At Arms With Morpheus takes place in turn-of the-century New York City boarding house. From…

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An O. Henry Story Loaded With Morphine October 14, 2009

“The drug clerk looks sharply at the white face half concealed by the high-turned overcoat collar. “’I would rather not supply you,’ he said doubtfully. ‘I sold you a dozen morphine tablets less than an hour ago.’ “The customer smiles wanly. ‘The fault is in your crooked streets. I didn’t intend to call upon you twice, but I guess I got tangled up. Excuse me.” Thus begins Fog in Santone by American short story master…

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