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The Green Jam of ‘Doctor X’: Science and Literature at the Club des Hashischins

  • Mike Jay

Abstract

In a pivotal scene in Alexandre Dumas’s Le Comte de Monte-Christo, the young adventurer Franz d’Epinay visits the rocky and apparently deserted island of Monte Cristo on a hunting expedition. There he stumbles upon a band of smugglers who lead him, blindfolded, to a secret cave where their leader lives in Oriental splendour under the nom de guerre of ‘Sinbad the Sailor’. Sinbad — whom we may already suspect is the Count of Monte Cristo in disguise — serves him a sumptuous feast, followed by a small bowl of pungent greenish paste. ‘Qu’est-ce que ce mets si précieux?’, asks Franz (Dumas, 1981, p. 352).1 In reply, Sinbad tells him the story of Hassan-i-Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountain, the leader of the Assassin sect during the Crusades, who recruited his followers by feeding them a drug that ‘les transportait dans le paradis’, after which they would obey his orders ‘comme à ceux de Dieu’.2 His guest recognises the story. ‘Alors’, he exclaims, ‘c’est du hachisch!

Keywords

Secret Society Abnormal Mental State Small Bowl Leader Life Arabian Night 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Mike Jay 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Jay

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