|Absinthe Books VI - English Fiction
|Contemporary fiction inspired by absinthe took many forms - poems, plays, short stories, novels. By far the
most influential and popular English language work was Marie Corelli's novel "Wormwood", a lurid Victorian
melodrama that was enormously popular both in the UK, and in the US, where it went through dozens of
unauthorised editions within the first few years of its initial publication in 1890.
A newly released modern edition of the book can be bought here.
WORMWOOD: A DRAMA OF PARIS
By Marie Corelli
Published 1890 by Richard Bentley & Son, London.
".......Absintheur, pur et simple! – voila tout! I am a thing more
abject than the lowest beggar that crawls through Paris whining for
a sou! – I am a slinking, shuffling beast, half monkey, half man,
whose aspect is so vile, whose body is so shaken with delirium,
whose eyes are so murderous, that if you met me by chance in the
day-time you would probably shriek for sheer alarm! But you will
not see me thus – daylight and I are not friends. I have become
like a bat or an owl in my hatred of the sun! -…At night I live; - at
night I creep out with the other obscene things of Paris, and by my
very presence, add fresh pollution to the moral poisons in the air! I
gain pence by the by the meanest errands,. – I help others to vice, -
and whenever I have the opportunity, I draw down weak youths.
Mothers’ darlings, to the brink of ruin, and topple them over – if I
can! […] For twenty francs, I will murder or steal, - all true
absintheurs are purchasable! For they are the degradation of Paris,
- the canker of the city – the slaves of mean insatiable madness
which nothing but death can cure...."
Click on the Adobe icon to view comprehensive extracts
from Corelli's "Wormwood" in Acrobat PDF format.
Each of the three volumes of the first edition originally had
criss-crossed red ribbons over their spines. These soon perished,
leaving only remnants as can be seen at left.
Click on the images to see enlarged versions.
AN ELEPHANT'S TRACK AND OTHER STORIES
Published 1897 by Harper and Brothers, New York.
AT THE CORNER OF ABSINTHE AND ANISETTE
".....There was, however, a single patron, who stood
with his left hand resting lightly on the bar; in his
right hand he held a small tumbler; the wan light
filtering in through the ground glass of the door fell
upon its cloudy green contents, giving them a
strange, unearthly gleam..."
Click on thumbnail to
see the title page.
|Click on the Adobe icon to download and view
the full short story in Acrobat PDF format:
|Move cursor over the link bars to see contents.
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