Le Hachych. Claude Francois LALLEMAND.

Le Hachych.

Paris: Paulin, 1843.

Octavo, ms. inscription on title; in the original printed yellow wrappers.

Presentation copy of the very rare first edition of this utopian hymn to hashish.

Presentation copy of the very rare first edition of this utopian hymn to hashish.

In the early 1840s the French psychiatrist Moreau had begun studying the possible therapeutic applications of hashish, in the process installing himself as purveyor to the famous Club des Hachichins, an elegant coterie presided over by author and dilettante Gautier. But it fell to the well-known surgeon and republican socialist Lallemand to write the first European work to use the drug as its basic plot device.

The work purports to be a translation from an Arabic manuscript which the author has discovered in his cabin whilst sailing for Marseille. It veers between the sensational and the doctrinal, particularly in its fundamental conceit that hashish not only provides consolation for the present, but an intimation and aspect of the future.

This copy is inscribed by Lallemand to "Monsieur Breton", in distinctive sepia ink, with a flourish that zig-zags across the word Hachych: this must be a deliberate echo of the closing lines of the novel: 'Il n'existe, d'ailleurs, d'autre trace de signature qu'un énorme zigzag allant jusqu'au bas de la page, et annoncant, selon toute apparence, un violent désir de s'étendre sur le matelas dont il a été parlé…'.

The book had some success and was republished in 1848 almost identically, but with the extra title Révolutions Politiques et Sociales.

Condition Report: A couple of dampstains in margins at start, worn at spine otherwise a fine copy.

Price (AUD): $6,500.00

US$4,648.57   Other currencies

Ref: #3006509

Condition Report