By Matthew Warner Osborn
Edgar Allan Poe vividly remembers status in a jail mobile, fearing for his existence, as he watched males mutilate and dismember the physique of his mom. That reminiscence, in spite of the fact that image and frightening, used to be no longer genuine. It used to be a hallucination, one of the suffered by way of the author, attributable to his habit to alcohol.
In Rum Maniacs, Matthew Warner Osborn unearths how and why pathological consuming grew to become a topic of scientific curiosity, social controversy, and lurid fascination within the early American republic. on the center of that tale is the ailment that Poe suffered: delirium tremens. First defined in 1813, delirium tremens and its attribute hallucinations encouraged sweeping alterations in how the scientific occupation observed and taken care of the issues of alcohol abuse. according to new theories of pathological anatomy, human body structure, and psychological disorder, the hot prognosis based the clinical conviction and renowned trust that ordinary consuming may perhaps turn into a mental and physiological ailment. by way of midcentury, delirium tremens had encouraged a variety of renowned theater, poetry, fiction, and representation. This romantic fascination persevered into the 20th century, such a lot significantly within the vintage Disney comic strip Dumbo, within which a red pachyderm marching band haunts a drunken younger elephant. Rum Maniacs finds simply how delirium tremens formed the trendy adventure of alcohol habit as a psychic fight with internal demons.