The disgrace of alcoholism

Modern Books and Manuscripts 2013-08-23

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Today from the Santo Domingo Collection, a curiosity: Scènes d’alcoolisme, a series of transparencies printed on glassine paper and published by Libraire Larousse, depicting the ravages of alcoholism. Included with the sheet of transparencies are a sheet of text describing the images and an envelope printed with publication information. The publication isn’t dated, but it appears to have been printed in the late nineteenth century.

Of the eight panels of images, seven are illustrations of alcoholism in contemporary French life: the drunkard’s wife begging him to return home; a fatal bar brawl; and delirium tremens, among other disgraces. The eighth panel digresses to portray the death of the Macedonian soldier Cleitus the Black, who famously saved the life of Alexander the Great, only to die by his hand after a drunken argument.

Scènes d’alcoolisme. Paris: Librairie Larousse, [1880?]. FC8.A100.880s

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.