Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Holmes

Date: 02 May 2002

>>In 19th century Britain, what are nowadays hard and illegal drugs were
acceptable medicines. They were NOT illegal. Queen Victoria was prescribed laudanum, which contains cocaine. Cocaine is a pain-killer; when Holmes took refuge in cocaine, it was against his pain, probably psychological rather than physical, though I'm not entirely sure about this point. The reverberations are different, and you have to be careful about what you read into the situation.<<

While I absolutely agree with *some* of the statements about Holmes, I must take issue with the definitiion of laudanum. Please see below:

Main Entry: lau·da·num Pronunciation: 'lod-n&m, 'lo-d&n-&m Function: noun Etymology: New Latin Date: circa 1603 1 : any of various formerly used preparations of opium 2 : a tincture of opium

While laudanum and many other derivatives of opium were used as medicine, cocaine was used far more commonly. I believe (see "Hard Habit To Break"--I forget the author's name) but it was used to ease the pain of dental work. It was used by Freud recreationally, until he became addicted, and wrote a paper on his struggle with addiction. I do not know what Arthur Conan Doyle meant by indicating Holmes used cocaine, unless it was to highlight his 'bohemian' and unconventional lifestyle.

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 May 2002 EDT