Master's Thesis from the year 2012 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2.1, University of Stirling (English), course: English Literature, language: English, abstract: In order to begin to explore the evolution of the notion of ‘addiction’, and understand how it has become an integral element of today’s reality, it is first important to establish a historical foundation by resorting to the reports of individuals who we know were involved in substance use, some of whom perhaps did not experience the burden of addiction themselves, but knew or cared for addicts. These texts were an appeal to the imagination; expressions of misery, loss, and degradation. They open up the history of addiction and give valuable insight into how tendencies changed over time; how present-day social norms, values, and beliefs on the topic formed; and what led to the mechanism of addiction becoming firmly ingrained into Western society. Romanticism was fascinated by the irrational quality of dreams, nightmares, reveries, and hallucinations. Many of the pleasures and pains of De Quincey’ s ‘love affair’ with his chosen substance were shared by writers like Coleridge, whose stories of composing poetry, like the one of how he found inspiration to compose ‘Kubla Khan’ (1797), showed clearly the role that intoxicants and the dreams induced by them played in the process of imaginative creation. Molly Lefebure’s narco-biography of Coleridge, A Bondage of Opium (1974), effectively argues, that he and De Quincey supplied an early typology of ‘the addict’: ‘their lives were itinerant, they left grand literary schemes unfulfilled, and they were dogged by poverty and squalor’ . Also, Fanny Trollope, in late middle-age, is known to have established a routine of writing her books by night, ‘helped by laudanum and green tea’.