In the nineteenth century, addiction could be identified in a variety of forms in social, cultural, and medical conceptions of deviancy or antisocial behaviour such as alcoholism, drug addiction, addictive sexual masturbation, compulsive criminal behaviour, and even cannibalism. Overindulgence in narcotics like opium, a prescribed and self-medicated drug, could cause insanity yet was administered in large doses to lunatics. This section explores the nature of addiction and its effect upon identity, consciousness, and modernity in nineteenth-century literature, focusing on the work of Alfred Tennyson, Bram Stoker, Thomas De Quincey, and Christina Rossetti.
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