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Epilogue II : The Victorian Hash Eaters


     Here are 7 excerpts taken from literature written during the Victorian era 1837-1901. These pieces of literature encompass the themes of hashish intoxication. All these pieces were written by Americans the exceptions being Théophile Gautier and Richard Burton.

     Europe first became acquainted with hashish in the 19th century by virtue of the French but it never caught on in Europe as it did in the US and this was largely as a result of the literary achievements of American writers such as Bayard Taylor and Fitz Hugh Ludlow.

     One cannot compare these mystical expeditions to any modern day experiences of smoking cannabis; this is because the amounts taken then far exceeded what is absorbed now through smoking cannabis. It must be stressed that these people in truth ingested heroic quantities of hashish. In fact, due to the inefficiency of smoking cannabis, it would represent a hard goal to attain such states of intoxication. Realistically, the nearest modern day experience comparable to those exploits described by the hashish eaters would be that of encounters with LSD or magic mushrooms and other potent hallucinogenic substances.

     The Victorian literary genre would appear to be particularly adept and uniquely tailored to communicate and impart the bewildering variations, multidimensional and visionary tonality that


typifies the hashish experience. So, it’s a very serendipitous union of literary style and theme that we encounter in these seven pieces of original texts. The first of these excerpts is the oldest recount presented here and was written by Théophile Gautier a renowned French author and poet and dates from 1846. Four of these excerpts are by American hashish eating devotees. The other two excerpts are by Richard Burton and taken from his translation of the Tales from a Thousand and One Nights which demonstrates the influence of hashish on the pinnacle of Islamic society. Burton was a renowned British author, Victorian traveller and linguist among other notable achievements in his long and adventurous life.

     The reason that these works have been included in this book is because of the great difficulty of acquiring the printed versions of this literature. For example, 1975 was the last time a printed edition of Fitz Hugh Ludlow was in circulation – having only previously been printed in the 1850’s in its first edition. Bayard Taylor was first printed in 1853 and there hasn’t been another edition since, so these works of literature are not readily available at your local library or book store.

     As the debate on the social impact of cannabis escalates, it is of paramount importance that access to these narratives by impartial and...

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All footage taken was filmed on location at the University of London, who possess a Home Office licence to cultivate Cannabis.
All Cannabis grown was grown under this Home Office licence for medical research under a group European initiative to validate the medicinal properties of Cannabis.