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February 26 , 2011

The Hashishin Club


The Club des Hashischins (“Club of the Hashish-Eaters”), was a Parisian literary group dedicated to the exploration of drug-induced altered states of consciousness, principally through the use of hashish, a concentrated form of cannabis resin. Notable members of the club, which was active from 1844 to 1849,included Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Gerard de Nerval, Honoré de Balzac, and Théophile Gautier, all dedicated to experimenting with drugs and recording drug-induced visions.Whilst Baudelaire notably produced his treatise “The Poem Of Hashish” based on his experiences at the club, the most notable record of the groups activities and experiences under the influence of hashish remains Gautiers “Le Club des Hachichin”, first published in the Revue des Deux Mondes in February 1846. This text also includes a section on the original hashishin, the assassins who served the Old Man of the Mountain, a figure later identified by William S. Burroughs as Hassan i Sabbah. Transmutation and insanity loom over Gautier as he explores a hypnagogic inner world of monstrous distortions and shadows, on a trip into the revelries of Walpurgisnacht. The result is an enduring masterpiece of drug literature.
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