1 Feb: The Hashsish Club

Rerun: Theophile Gautier’s account of ‘green jam’ cannabis consumption at the drug-addled dinner parties of the ‘Club des Hachichins’ – alongside literary figures Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac – was first published in Revue des Deux Mondes on 1st February, 1846.

The Club, founded by psychiatrist Dr Jacques Joseph Moreau to establish the psychedelic effects of eating copious amounts of marijuana, met in Arab fancy dress; its members mashing their drugs up with with cinnamon cloves, nutmeg, pistachio, sugar, orange juice – and an aphrodisiac derived from Spanish Fly.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Napoleon inadvertently triggered the French trend for weed that endures to this day; consider the influence of Thomas de Quincey’s ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ on this select group of Romantic literati; and review Charles Baudelaire’s claim that he was merely a spectator and DID NOT INHALE…

Further Reading:

• ‘Spoonfuls of paradise’ (extract from ‘Cannabis’ by Jonathon Green, 2002): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/oct/12/featuresreviews.guardianreview34

• ‘The Hashish Club: How the Poets of Paris Turned on Europe’ (High Times, 1979): https://hightimes.com/culture/the-hashish-club/

• ‘Jon Snow takes cannabis’ (Channel 4, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hyn0fDFqG3I

‘Why am I hearing a rerun?’ Every Thursday is ‘Throwback Thursday’ on Today in History with the Retrospectors: running one repeat per week means we can keep up the quality of our independent podcast. Daily shows like this require a lot of work! But as ever we’ll have something new for you tomorrow, so follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors