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Smoking Means Great Literature

Two things to make you cry: Watching a dog shiver in the rain, watching an Irishman light up outside and stare longingly at his pint through the window of a pub that no longer fucking allows smoking. A.N. Wilson's argument … Read More

By / August 21, 2007

Two things to make you cry: Watching a dog shiver in the rain, watching an Irishman light up outside and stare longingly at his pint through the window of a pub that no longer fucking allows smoking. A.N. Wilson's argument that nicotine means great literature is well founded and to the point. I would add to his list a few names from this side of the Atlantic: Mark Twain, Edmund Wilson, Saul Bellow, Lionel Trilling, Murray Kempton, Raymond Chandler… Even self-righteous killjoys may post more puffing notable in the comments section below.

What do the following have in common: Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis?

The answer is, of course, that if they were to come back to life in Gordon Brown's Britain and wanted to go out to their club, or a restaurant or café, they would not be allowed to indulge in a habit which sustained them during the most creative phases of their lives.

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