Biannual Journal of the Department of Letters and Foreign Languages, Hyperion University, Romania
Electronic ISSN: ISSN 2559 – 2025; ISSN-L 2285 – 2115
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USE AND ABUSE: FROM ALCOHOL ADDICTION TO MODERN MEDIA INTOXICATION
Submission deadline: June 1, 2018
Etymologically defined as ad + dicere, ’to speak, to say’, ”addiction” meant throughout history, both the expression of an idea, and the pronouncement of a sentence, the addictus being a debtor sentenced to prison, according to the Roman contract law, besides the much more famous drink-drug-related use, according to Rebecca Lemon.
As the same author argues, ”addiction” in early modern England meant one’s devotion to God, to study, to friendship, or to love, something that required natural disposition and ability. Or, as Reformist writers guided people towards prayer and pious living, while cautioning them against the wrong types of addiction, a state in which the individual both does and does not have control of oneself: drunkenness, wickedness, wordly pleasures, theater, superstitions, the Pope and the Antichrist.
Theater could make its addicts through the actor’s transformation in ”gesture, speech and dress and adopting the words of another”, turning plays into drugs, actors into drug peddlers, and audiences into ”unwitting victims or eager consumers” (Lemon xii).
Addiction and willing intoxication reached the modernist, post-Enlightenment era, when the artist had to confront ”the overwhelming, socio-historical changes and cultural anxieties”, such as ”secularization, with its effects of a desacralized and disenchanted world, the increasing precariousness of the figure of the artist within modernity”, and the feeling that ”art has in some sense reached its end and there is nothing more to say” (1), argue Eugene Brennan and Russell Williams. For Walter Benjamin, modernity was inseparable from intoxication, ”the intoxication of the commodity immersed in a surging stream of customers” (Brennan, Williams 1), of the defamiliarization of the everyday and the banal. For Nietzsche, art was made of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, two separate worlds of dream and intoxication. ”Apollo could not live without Dionysus” (Brennan, Williams 2), in the Greek tragedy, while the Dionysian chorus depended upon the Apollonian world of images to be communicated. Throughout his work, Apollo became assciated with Socrates, Christ and the Crucified, while Dionysus turned from self-loss to an affirmation of life.
Addiction and self-control defined the theological debates of the 17th and 18th centuries, according to Mariana Valverde. In Europe, the question of will and determination was central to philosophers from Descartes to Kant, while in the US, Calvinist Jonathan Edwards reconciled ”the Christian dogma of the moral responsibility of the individual” with the ”specifically Calvinist doctrine of the determination of the will” (Valverde 15) arguing that although we are determined by causation, we might always have done otherwise, thus attributing moral responsibility to the habitual drunkards.
Drunkenness and nationhood were central to 19th century Mexico, argues Deborah Toner. Seen either as proper material for a national literature (Guillermo Prieto) or, negatively, as a social problem (Sanchez Sartos), drunkenness had been the privilege of the highest military, religious and political figures of the Aztec Empire. To these categories they added the pregnant and the lactating women, the pulque being associated with fertility, purification and renewal. Ordinary people, on the other hand, could pay for their drunkenness with death. Alcohol was the link between people and gods, a privilege only for the elite.
Drunkeness/addiction in literature, from alcohol to drugs, comprises famous American and British writers (see Ciobica et al, Wojcieck Klepuszewski, Aubrey Malone). Great writers and artists, it seems, need a vice, something to make them look charismatic, help them overcome loneliness and isolation, deal with their specific awareness of the sufferings of the world, something to make them believe better of themselves (Ciobica et al). Alcohol and drugs make them socialize easier and look rebelious, defy the establisment/the world (Malone).
These are several early and modern ways of someone being addicted. Postmodernism has triggered with it yet another object for our dependence: the new technology – the gadget, the media and the Internet – which seem to have started a much serious revolution than ever before.
The present issue invites a whole range of approaches [literary and cultural studies, linguistics, teaching], including but not limited to all the uses enumerated above
The volume will also include a section Miscellanea, which may feature a limited number of papers not related to the theme.
A limited number of book reviews is also welcomed, not older than 3 years prior to the present issue!
Please send proposals (and enquiries) to email@example.com
 Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018
 Literature and Intoxication: Writing, Politics and the Experience of Excess. Palgrave, Macmillan, 2015
 Diseases of the Will: Alcohol and the Dilemmas of Freedom. Cambridge University Press, 1998
 Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. University of Nebraska Press, 2015
 Examples: Eugene O’ Neil, Raymond Chandler, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever, John Berryman, Carson McCullers, Charles Bucowski, Anne Sexton, Raymond Carver
 “General Aspects Regarding the Phenomenon of Alcohol in Literature”. JLSHS 57 (2015)
 “Fortified Fiction: Writers and Drink”. Acta Neophilologica 50. 1-2 (2017)
 Writing Under the Influence: Alcohol and the Works of 13 American Authors. McFarland, 2017