Under the Influence
The Literature of Addiction
Publication Date: February 4, 2003
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Drawing on two centuries of important literary and historical writings, Rebecca Shannonhouse has shaped a remarkable collection of works that are, in turn, tragic, compelling, hilarious, and enlightening. Together, these selections comprise a profound and truthful portrait of the life experience known as addiction.
Under the Influence offers classic selections from fiction, memoirs, and essays by authors such as Tolstoy, Cheever, Parker, and Poe. Also included are topical gems by writers who illuminate the causes, dangers, pleasures, and public perceptions surrounding people consumed by excessive use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Recent provocative works by Abraham Verghese, the Barthelme brothers, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, and others expand and modernize the definition of addiction to include sex, gambling, and food. Together, these incomparable writings give shape and meaning to the raw experience of uncontrollable urges.
Shannonhouse’s recent anthology, Out of Her Mind: Women Writing on Madness, is also available as a Modern Library Paperback.
Rebecca Shannonhouse is a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, and other publications. She lives in New York City.
“In the end, we simply can’t stand in icy judgment of those who sought Paradise and found Hell. . . . If the stories in this book have a collective statement to make, it is a simple one: I, too, was human.” —Pete Hamill