Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Smoking and Writing

Some friends are mentioned in an article by A.N. Wilson (biographer of Belloc and Lewis):

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.

The moment they popped their favoured cigar, cigarette or pipe between their lips and lit up, they would have been fined on the spot.

continue reading at the Telegraph...

If you don't want to read the whole thing, here is another mention of smoking friends later in the article:

Sitting with my drink in such now-empty bars, my mind has turned to the great smokers of the past - to C S Lewis, who smoked 60 cigarettes a day between pipes with his friends Charles Williams (cigarette smoker) and Tolkien (pipe-smoker); to Thomas Carlyle, whose wife made him smoke in the kitchen of their house in Cheyne Row, but who is unimaginable without tobacco, to Robert Browning, who quickly adapted to the new cigarette craze, to the great John Cowper Powys, who continued to smoke cigarettes, and to produce fascinating novels, into his nineties.

2 comments:

Lucille said...

One wonders how there could have been a body of literature at all before the 16th century.

chestertonian said...

So Britian has a nationwide smoking ban? Since when?

how did they let this happen?

And what will non-smokers do when they get to heaven, and discover there are NO nonsmoking areas?