Heroin in literature
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Heroin has inspired countless writers over the past century of use. However, its influence is often misunderstood or unfairly assumed; many writers have used or been addicted to heroin, but the extent to which the drug affected their creativity is debatable. Relatively few writers with great talent have credited heroin use with major epiphanies.
In 1922, British occultist Aleister Crowley wrote Diary of a Drug Fiend. Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs wrote about his experiences with heroin in numerous books, starting with the 1953 semi-autobiographical Junkie (aka Junky). The Basketball Diaries is a 1978 book written by American author and musician Jim Carroll. It is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of twelve and sixteen. Set in New York City, they detail his daily life, sexual experiences, high school basketball career, Cold War paranoia, the counterculture movement, and, especially, his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13. The book was made into a film under the same name in 1995 starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Irvine Welsh's 1993 novel Trainspotting which was later made into a feature film under the same name explores the turbulent lives of an eccentric group of heroin users. Allen Hoey's 2006 novel, Chasing the Dragon, examines the use of heroin among jazz musicians in the 1950s.
- The Man with the Golden Arm (1949) by Nelson Algren
- Junkie by William S. Burroughs
- Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
- Junk by Melvin Burgess
- The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
- Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
- Cain's Book by Alexander Trocchi
- Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby
- The Heroin User's Handbook by Dr. Francis Moraes
- Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (life story of Christiane F. a teenage German addict)
- Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl
- The Survival of the Coolest by William Pryor