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Rum ManiacsAlcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic$
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Matthew Warner Osborn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226099897

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226099927.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

: Alcoholics and Pink Elephants

: Alcoholics and Pink Elephants

(p.205) Epilogue: Alcoholics and Pink Elephants
Rum Maniacs

Matthew Warner Osborn

University of Chicago Press

Ranging broadly into the twenty-first century, the epilogue considers the enduring influence of delirium tremens on medical and popular conceptions of alcoholism and drug use. It illustrates how delirium tremens and alcoholic hallucinations carried many of their nineteenth-century meanings into twentieth-century mass culture, featuring in children’s cartoons such as “Dumbo” and sentimental dramatizations of alcoholism. In the twentieth century, however, delirium tremens became fascination with drug-induced insanity, trance-states, and hallucinations persisted even in the literature of the modern recovery movement inspired by Bill Wilson and Alcoholic’s Anonymous, and in the psychedelic generations’ experimentations with LSD. In American popular culture, delirium tremens remained compelling theater because it continued to express a romantic longing to break free of the painful strictures of middle-class existence.

Keywords:   Alcoholism, Alcoholic’s Anonymous, Bill Wilson, Dumbo, Film, Popular Culture, LSD, Hallucinations

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