The introduction argues that while the hangover has often been the subject of medical and psychological studies, it is a neglected topic in the humanities. In the emerging field of drinking studies, the hangover tends to be overlooked in favour of studies of intoxication, sociability and ritual. Yet, as argued here, a literary study of the hangover contributes significantly to our understanding of many of the issues given prominence in drinking studies such as the relationship between the drinker and their environment, the politics of controlling alcohol consumption and the ways in which alcohol affects perception and cognition. The introduction establishes the historical range of the study from the Renaissance to the present day and argues that the hangover as a socio-cultural phenomenon is best witnessed when we consider the continuities and contrasts in its representation at different times.
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