French martyrs

We are currently traveling and have thus fallen behind on posting some of Dalrymple’s recent work. We’ll be doing some catching up today, beginning with this British Medical Journal column on self-pitying French opiate addicts Jean Cocteau and Francoise Sagan, in which Dalrymple applies some of the logic of his past writings on addiction. (Subscription required.)

Two French authors of somewhat mixed reputation, Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) and Fran├žoise Sagan (1935-2004), wrote accounts of their withdrawal from opiates undertaken in specialised clinics. By the mere fact of doing so they were investing the process with a significance well above the ordinary. No one, after all, would write a book entitled My Head Cold: The Story of a Recovery.

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