The Serpent in the Cup: Temperance in American Literature (coedited with Debra J. Rosenthal)
This interdisciplinary collection of original essays by ten scholars examines topics such as American Reanissance literature and temperance themes, the demonization of the tavern, incest and pederasty in 19th-century temperance fiction, fictionalized autobiographical confessions, temperance and race, the relation of purposeful drunkenness to the modernist writers’ “wasteland,” Alcoholics Anonymous, and a pedagogical issues surrounding the culture of drinking in America.
About the Book
This collection of ten essays complements such literary studies of alcohol as John Crowley’s The White Logic, Edmund O’Reilly’s Sobering Tales, and Nicholas Warner’s Spirits of America. It traces temperance themes in works by Poe, Whitman, Hawthorne, W.W. Brown (Clotel), Douglass, Stowe, John B. Gough (“poet of the d.t.’s”), Frances E.W. Harper (“The Two Offers,” “Sowing and Reaping: A Temperance Story”), London, and Fitzgerald. Topics include the demonization of the tavern, scarcely veiled themes of incest and pederasty in 19th-century temperance fiction, fictionalized autobiographical confessions, temperance and race, the relation of purposeful drunkenness to the modernist writers’ “wasteland,” a close reading of “Bill’s Story” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1938), and a description (including syllabus) of a college course on the history and culture of drinking in America.
Critical Praise for The Serpent in the Cup:
“The first serious contribution to the field. I found all the essays, without exception, stylistically and substantively a delight to read.”
— Roger Forseth, University of Wisconsin
“The essays should interest students and teachers of literature, sociology, anthropology, popular culture, religion, psychology, and history. The essays are clearly focused, well documented, and for the most part jargon free.”