NY: The Orion Press, 1963. Translated by Haakon Chevalier. 8vo, gray cloth stamped in white and yellow on front board and spine; black topstain; dust jacket. 230pp. Light sunning and soiling to boards; offsetting to endpapers; light spotting/soiling to fore-edge; mild musty odor. Jacket, price-clipped, with small chips at spine ends, toning to interior. About very good in a like jacket.
First English-language edition of this book documenting the “explorations among drugs” of the sui generis French poet and visual artist. Michaux (1899–1984) occupies an interesting place in drug literature. He didn’t begin using hallucinogens until in 50s, experimented heavily for a decade, and then abandoned the practice abruptly at the recommendation of his doctor. In this hybrid work of prose and poetry, he describes the sensations and thoughts prompted by psilocybin, mescaline, and marijuana, as well as his extrapolations about the relationship between the drug state and mental illness. His writing strikes an effective balance between interiority and clinical detachment, particularly effective at conveying the experiential complexity of the psychedelic state.