Artificial Paradises


Artificial Paradises: a drugs reader
edited by Mike Jay
Penguin 1999


Artificial Paradises reveals the diversity of the roles that mind-altering drugs have played throughout history and across all cultures in the overlapping dialogues of science and religion, pleasure and madness, individualism and social control. Its selection of texts combines the writings of artists and scientists, clinical papers and religious tracts, social documents and the ‘invisible literature’ of drug experiences from indigenous cultures to the Internet.


“This is a superb anthology – scholarly, penetrative, mind-expanding. It’s probably the best of its kind” Ian McEwan

“Excellent – shows how drugs permeate the very fabric of our history and culture” Irvine Welsh

“Mike Jay delivers scores of well-selected hits of wild wisdom from Homer and his cronies to William Burroughs in Artificial Paradises. His mild-mannered but insightful introductions and links between pieces prime the reader for a series of expansive trips through other people’s minds.” Amazon

“A compendious anthology… intelligently edited, with a good deal of out-of-the-way technical material” Times Literary Supplement

“This book is a miracle of the art of the editor…such a wealth of drugs literature in one place delivers a sizeable blow to the assertion that drugs are a trivial sideline in the history of mankind” Bush Telegraph

“A very interesting and enjoyable read; perfectly viable for the casual reader and the drug writing researcher alike”
Psychedelic Press UK