Cover image for The serpent in the cup : temperance in American literature
The serpent in the cup : temperance in American literature
Reynolds, David S., 1948-
Publication Information:
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
vi, 237 pages ; 24 cm
The demonization of the tavern / David S. Shields -- Black cats and delirium tremens : temperance and the American renaissance / David S. Reynolds -- Temperance in the bed of a child : incest and social order in nineteenth-century America / Karen Sánchez-Eppler -- "Whiskey, blacking, and all" : temperance and race in William Wells Brown's Clotel / Robert S. Levine -- Slaves to the bottle : Gough's Autobiography and Douglass's Narrative / John W. Crowley -- Temperance, morality, and medicine in the fiction of Harriet Beecher Stowe / Nicholas O. Warner -- Deracialized discourse : temperance and racial ambiguity in Harper's "The two offers" and Sowing and reaping / Debra J. Rosenthal -- "Alcoholism" and the modern temper / John W. Crowley -- "Bill's story" : form and meaning in A.A. recovery narratives / Edmund O'Reilly -- Drink and disorder in the classroom / Joan D. Hedrick.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS169.T44 S47 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



An exploration of America's battle with the bottle through an analysis of literature on temperance. The ten essays in this book include topics ranging from the cultural role of the tavern in the 18th century, to the emergence of the disease paradigm of alcoholism in the 20th century.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of ten essays usefully complements such recent literary studies of alcohol as John Crowley's The White Logic (CH, Jun'95), Edmund O'Reilly's Sobering Tales (1997), and Nicholas Warner's Spirits of America (CH, Feb'98). 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. Thus, the essays should interest students and teachers of sociology, anthropology, popular culture, religion, psychology, and history as well as literature. The essays are clearly focused, well documented, and for the most part jargon free. Recommended for all collections. C. B. Dodson University of North Carolina at Wilmington