Author(s): Richard Klein
Cigarettes are bad for you; that is why they are so good. With its origins in the author's urgent desire to stop smoking, "Cigarettes Are Sublime" offers a provocative look at the literary, philosophical, and cultural history of smoking. Richard Klein focuses on the dark beauty, negative pleasures, and exacting benefits attached to tobacco use and to cigarettes in particular. His appreciation of paradox and playful use of hyperbole lead the way on this aptly ambivalent romp through the cigarette in war, movies (the "Humphrey Bogart cigarette"), literature, poetry, and the reflections of Sartre to show that cigarettes are a mixed blessing, precisely sublime.
"In "Cigarettes are Sublime," a cult classic of the literature of tobacco, Richard Klein connects the allure of cigarettes precisely to their dangers . . . ." --Hendrik Hertzberg, "New Yorker"
Richard Klein is Professor of French at Cornell University and editor of "Diacritics." He quit smoking while writing "Cigarettes Are Sublime" and has been nicotine-free ever since.
Preface ix Acknowledgments xv Introduction 1 1. What Is a Cigarette? 23 2. Cigarettes Are Sublime 51 3. Zeno's Paradox 77 4. The Devil in Carmen 105 5. The Soldier's Friend 135 6. "L'air du temps" 157 A Polemical Conclusion 181 Notes 195 Works Cited 203 Index 207