What is a hangover? How does it
feel to suffer from one? What can hangovers tell us about the way attitudes to
alcohol have developed over time? In the humanities, why have we neglected the subject of the hangover in our
critical discussions of alcohol and intoxication?
In the first comprehensive study of the hangover in literature and culture, Jonathon Shears sets out to answer each of these questions by exploring the representation of ‘the morning after’ in a wide variety of texts ranging from the Renaissance to the present day. The book looks at what examples of ‘hangover literature’ from writers such as Ben Jonson, Robert Burns, Charles Dickens, Kingsley Amis and A.L. Kennedy can add to our personal and cultural understanding of alcohol use. It demonstrates that, more than just a cluster of physical symptoms, the hangover is a complex interplay of sensations and emotions with a fascinating cultural history.
‘Reach for the blackest coffee you have (or a wee dram if you prefer): Shears takes us into the lost weekend of the literary hangover, unearthing the meanings of the pains and pleasures of the morning after the night before.’
Andrew M. Butler