The Hangover



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What is a hangover? How does it feel to suffer from one? What can hangovers tell us about the way attitudes to alcohol have developed over time? In the humanities, why have we neglected the subject of the hangover in our critical discussions of alcohol and intoxication?
In the first comprehensive study of the hangover in literature and culture, Jonathon Shears sets out to answer each of these questions by exploring the representation of ‘the morning after’ in a wide variety of texts ranging from the Renaissance to the present day. The book looks at what examples of ‘hangover literature’ from writers such as Ben Jonson, Robert Burns, Charles Dickens, Kingsley Amis and A.L. Kennedy can add to our personal and cultural understanding of alcohol use. It demonstrates that, more than just a cluster of physical symptoms, the hangover is a complex interplay of sensations and emotions with a fascinating cultural history.

‘Reach for the blackest coffee you have (or a wee dram if you prefer): Shears takes us into the lost weekend of the literary hangover, unearthing the meanings of the pains and pleasures of the morning after the night before.’

Andrew M. Butler

Author Information

Jonathon Shears is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Keele University. He edited the Byron Journal from 2012 to 2019 and his book Byron’s Temperament: Essays in Body and Mind won the Elma Dangerfield award in 2016. He is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Lord Byron and working on projects related to alcohol and the emotions.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures7
1. Isolating, Placing and Contextualising the Hangover19
2. ‘The Nausea of Sin’: The Early Modern Hangover43
3. ‘Baneful to Public and to Private Good’: Hours of Illness and Idleness in the Long Eighteenth Century79
4. Odes to Dejection: Romanticism and the Melancholy of Self-knowledge115
5. Moral Sensitivity and the Mind: Tired and Emotional Victorians149
6. The Hangover and the Outsider: Self-fashioning, Shame and Defiance in Twentieth- and Twenty-first-century Fiction181