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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > The Absinthe Library
Miiru
Please allow me to begin by stating that I have no direct experience with absinthe whatsoever. That damning bit of information out of the way and as many tomatoes ducked as humanly possible, I would like to solicit the assistance of the willing here.

I am in the process of getting an idea for a novel out of my head and onto paper where it belongs. The setting will be quite heavily Victorian (and is consuming quite a bit of research time on its own), and several of the central characters have ganged up on me and demanded that absinthe play a major role.

So I find myself devoting an almost obsessive amount of time to learning everything possible about a drink that grows, as I progress, ever more fascinating. I have found this site in particular to be marvellously helpful, and hope that its denizens can be equally so, as I am not exactly a font of absinthine wisdom. Er, quite obviously so.

Which brings me to the point of my question. There is quite a bit of literature available about absinthe itself: how it is made, how it should taste, what brands are better or worse than others; the impressive list of those who made it a habit in its heyday; on and on and on it goes, most overwhelmingly.

But I cannot find (or have not looked enough for) the sort of detailed information I require as to what sort of establishment served the drink as a matter of course. I feel it would almost be sinful to assume that it was simply a normal sort of pub or bar that sheltered the likes of Picasso and van Gogh... but at the same time, I don't wish to assume otherwise, as I've no certainty to the contrary.

Can anyone shed light upon this? Where, in the latter days of the nineteenth century, would one regularly go to partake of absinthe in a social setting? What would a typical establishment look/smell/sound like? Were there any such places, in fact, or was it simply served to one's associates in the home, similar to tea?

I am almost obsessive about getting the details correct when I write, and this is a very important project to me, as writing it will ensure my continued sanity. Stories do this to me, the wretched things.

Any assistance will be most gratefully appreciated! The little green fairy has captured my soul with nary a sip; I am lost forevermore simply by virtue of the drink's history and legend and my own distressingly overactive imagination. Perhaps if I write about her she'll let me go.

Many thanks,
Miiru
pierreverte
http://www.oxygenee.com/

go to the books section, and read the harper's story and marie corelli for a start...
Miiru
What a marvelous resource!
~happily rummaging~ Thank you!
Head_prosthesis
Speaking of books...

I ran across this up and commer

http://www.mediumrarebooks.com/anthology.htm

Wolfgang
If you can read french, you should really read Absinthe muse des Poètes by M-C Delahayes. There`s many precise references in this book about who drinked where and why. It`s a gem.
Felis Catus
H.P-Thanks for the link to info on yet another book
I must have but cannot afford.

Miiru-If you wish to talk obsessively about the 19th
century, with yet another forum member obsessed with that time and it's places,corner Absomphe.


Cheers to you and your venture! absintheglass.gif

Felis Catus
Brett
Out of curiosity, how popular was absinthe in the only place that can aptly be called Victorian -England of mid- to late-19th century?
Absomphe
Felis: Not that easy to corner me you brazen Vixen!!

Bwahahahaha! dev.gif
Absomphe
Brett: As I understand it, absinthe was never very popular in Victorian England, except among a small circle of poets, playwrights, and painters. That is main reason that it was never banned in the U.K. The English taste had always run to bitter ale, and not to anise.

Thank goodness, for today we have that lack of interest to thank for LDF.

And Peter and Ian, of course! w00t2.gif
Miiru
~carefully and quietly sneaks up on this Absomphe-creature in the hopes of snagging at least a few minutes' conversation~

Thankfully, the core story idea does not require absinthe to be wildly, ragingly popular; only that it be available in the London of the late nineteenth century, which I do not foresee being a problem, historically speaking. Hooray!

Wolfgang- sadly, my French is limited to a few phrases, most of which I cannot accurately pronounce aloud. Woe! The book shall remain inaccessible to me until such time as I indulge my wish to learn the language in its entirety. I'll note the recommendation, however; perhaps I can find a reasonable translation. Many thanks!

Felis: Many thanks for the well-wishing :) It's a sizeable project even in its preliminaries... it'll be some time before I've anything to show for it, but all wishes of luck are gratefully and greedily hoarded.
Absomphe
Miiru: There are a number of books on the subject of absinthe (at least 7 or 8), but for your quest, you must get a hold of "The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History", by Phil Baker. Originally a British publication, there is also an American edition, published by Grove Press.

For your purposes, it is worth having just for the section on Ernest Dowson alone, who was the most unremitting, and unrepenting of the British absintheurs. A character loosely based on him would make a marvelous central figure for your novel!

There were the other reprobates as well... Lionel Johnson, Arthur Symons (who wasn't an absintheur, but immersed himself in that crowd, Leonard Smithers, the publisher, and of course Oscar Wilde.

However, Dowson to me, stands out as the human temple devoted to the worship of La Fee Verte.

As far as the actual atmosphere of an absinthe cafe, Pierre Verte has already directed you to the two best evocative sources of imagery...Marie Corelli's "Wormwood" and the very detailed Harper's article. I wish there were a description that thorough that applied to a London absinthe bistro, but because of it's lack of popularity, outside of a small cognoscenti, I doubt if there is one.

Best of luck in putting a wonderful story together!!! yes.gif
Maldoror
Madder music, stronger wine
Miiru
You people are marvellous ;)

I will certainly hunt up that particular book, Absomphe; thank you for the recommendation!
Maldoror
Also check out "Madder Music, Stronger Wine; The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent" by
Jad Adams!
Absomphe
To your health, Ernest! This one's for you.

Cheers!!! absintheglass.gif ...and this one absintheglass.gif ...and this one absintheglass.gif ...and this one absintheglass.gif ...and this one absintheglass.gif ...and this one... absintheglass.gif...and this one absintheglass.gif .............. Tombstone2.gif R.I.P. buddy!
Kallisti
QUOTE
Miiru: There are a number of books on the subject of absinthe (at least 7 or 8), but for your quest, you must get a hold of "The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History", by Phil Baker. Originally a British publication, there is also an American edition, published by Grove Press.

For your purposes, it is worth having just for the section on Ernest Dowson alone, who was the most unremitting, and unrepenting of the British absintheurs. A character loosely based on him would make a marvelous central figure for your novel!


Except that he attributed this website to the wrong person, albeit a friend of mine. Doh!

Miiru
QUOTE (Maldoror @ Jan 13 2004, 02:21 PM)
Also check out "Madder Music, Stronger Wine; The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent" by
Jad Adams!

And the list of required literature grows! :) I find it delectaby ironic that in order to write one must first read twice as much.

Poetic justice, perhaps?

Again, my thanks! (I do seem to be saying that a lot here...)
Brett
Miiru, from one who writes to another, trust me, do as much reading as possible. And don't limit yourself to readings from the time period you focus on. Classical literature, scientific texts, modern works, all can influence you in various ways. I'd say for every work I've completed, there are at least ten major works I've read that have gone into it and countless minor ones.

Now if I could only get published... (but I was once rejected by the New Yorker!)
Conju
I would reccomend going to kallisti's book whores, your local borders, your local library, and finding as many books as you can on the drink, read them all until you feel you've got a firm handle on the drink. Watch the absinthe extra on the from hell DVD (interview with barnaby conrad) and just read. As much as you can. And don't retire from it untill you absolutely cant stands no more. There's a lot more information on the drink than you think out there.

absintheglass.gif Cheers! absintheglass.gif
Conju
Did I mention it helps to drink absinthe while you are pursuing your noble quest? Because it does! hyper.gif

vive verte de fougerolles 72!
Absomphe
Well, maybe two or three hearty glasses. After that you can start to imagine you ARE in 19th century London, overindulging with Mr. Dowson!! dev.gif
Felis Catus
Just remember Absomphe will be right there with
Mr Dowson...

(Quite) a few glasses of Fou give him special powers
over time,space and I can only imagine the minds
of others! dev.gif






Vive La Fou!
absynthe.gif absintheglass.gif wacko.gif


looking-up.gif
Absomphe
Felis: So, my time traveling turtle dove...do you have Fou en rou te to you? ( Oh the horrible Faux strained rhyme scheme!)

I know you said that you were hamstrung when it came to absinthe purchases until after Christmas loot...I sure hope you have a Fou-Juice order on the way, so you can experience and or dispute my "findings"! dev.gif dev.gif dev.gif
Conju
I believe I can deduct the thoughts of any human being when I've had enough.

So you like to wear a coat of bumblebee skins around the house absomphe!

no?

maybe I should have another
absintheglass.gif
Absomphe
Conju:

blink.gif headbonk.gif poke.gif frusty.gif wacko.gif !!!!
Brett
Well, let me tell you, a glass of P68, followed by a glass of Fougerolles followed by a glass of #27 gave me no special powers. It did make me want to read though.

Of course, perhaps that strange sensation now in my head is the sensation of my mental faculties being bombarded by the thoughts of others.

Yes. I have powers...political powers....
Absomphe
Brett:

Good, then maybe you can do something about that B.C. government! dev.gif
Felis Catus
conju-re bumblebee skin coats-what Absomphe
said.

Have you been listening to Lucy In The Sky With
Diamonds whilst imbibing?!?


absintheglass.gif w00t2.gif blink.gif hula-1.gif





looking-up.gif
Absomphe
I think he's been TAKING it whilst imbibing. We have to keep that boy away from Master Alchemist.!!!
Felis Catus
Dr A

I am sad to say I have not yet sent for the Fou-Juice.
no.gif

I am still waiting on dad's holiday gift so I can also
purchase two glasses and spoons.I wish my friend
Celia to have her first taste of absinthe in proper
style.


You,and everyone else,will know when I place the
order.Many w00t2.gif 's will appear in my post.When
The Perfect Beast arrives and has been sampled,
I expect another post with many more w00t2.gif 's
(and I hope one or two fairy.gif's ) will appear.

You can then help me figure out which flavors I am
describing are derived from which herbs. wormwood.gif anise.gif

Until then,yet another toast with a glass of
La Absinthe Virtual. absintheglass.gif !

looking-up.gif
Absomphe
Felis:

Poor baby, I did not realize you were not yet in receipt of said gift. Oh well, at least when the Fou-Juice finally does arrive you will have the pleasure of "deflowering" a friend!!!!!!!! dev.gif dev.gif
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