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Cigarettes Are Sublime

By
Richard Klein
Richard Klein

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.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7941-6
Publication date:
1993

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.

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