Narcotics : Nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, peyote, morphine, ether + appendices, including selections from Farewell to autumn / Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz ; translated from the Polish by Soren A. Gauger.

  • Witkiewicz, Stanisław Ignacy, 1885-1939.
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Nikotyna, alkohol, kokaina, peyotl, morfina, eter + appendix. English
Nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, peyote, morphine, ether + appendices


"In the vein of the well-known drug writings of De Quincey and Baudelaire from a century earlier and those of his contemporaries Walter Benjamin and Jean Cocteau - and foreshadowing the later writings of Aldous Huxley and Carlos Castaneda on psychoactive drugs - Witkacy composed Narcotics in 1930 to discuss and document not only his own experimentation with different substances but the nature of addiction itself and the prevailing social attitude toward drugs, particularly those that were considered "acceptable." As life became increasingly mechanized, Witkacy felt that a sense of the metaphysical could only be achieved by artificial means, and like Henri Michaux, he produced an extensive oeuvre of singular visual art while under the influence of a variety of substances. Witkacy dissects Polish society and the art world as well as himself via the hypocrisy surrounding drug use. Since it was first published in the 1930s, Narcotics has achieved a cult status in Poland where it is considered both a modernist classic and a paragon of Witkiewiczian madness. This edition, the first complete translation in English, includes a second appendix written later, passages from the novel Farewell to Autumn, and 34 colour reproductions of a cross section of portraits to show how various substances impacted Witkacy's art."--Dust jacket.


Prague : Twisted Spoon Press, 2018.

Physical description

166 pages, [32] pages of plates : colour illustrations ; 20 cm


First edition in hardcover.


"Originally published in Polish as: Nikotyna, alkohol, kokaina, peyotl, morfina, eter + appendix (Warszawa : Drukarnia T-wa Polskiej Macierzy Szkolnej, 1932); later published as Narkotyki, Niemyte dusze (edited by Anna Micińska ; Warszawa : Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1975). Farewell to autumn originally published as Pożegnanie jesieni (Warszawa : F. Hoesick, 1927)"--Colophon.
Artwork by the author.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 8086264483
  • 9788086264486