Alien Intoxications: The Aggressions of a Brisbane Opium Smoker


'In Australia opium smoking provoked a rhetorical nexus of intoxication, cultural division, and clamorous assertions of nationality. ... With this in mind, what I offer here is a reading of one very vehement yet oddly ambiguous description of an Australian opium den—William Lane's 'Opium Smoking in Brisbane' (1888). I situate Lane's article in its historical and geographical context, and relate it to descriptions of opium smoking such as Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821), in order to illustrate how opium smoking suffused and sharpened the divisive character of late colonial Australia.'

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Published 1 June 2012 in Volume 27 No. 2. Subjects: Australian literature and writers, Colonial life, Opium, Urban life.

Cite as: Crouch, David. ‘Alien Intoxications: The Aggressions of a Brisbane Opium Smoker.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, 2012, doi: 10.20314/als.f09d455cc7.