Tobacco use among 18th-century writers

As a follow-up to my post on smoking and creativity, I’ve compiled a list of all the significant 18th-century figures in Western literature (as listed by Charles Murray in Human Accomplishment) and am in the process of gathering information on who smoked and who didn’t.

In contrast to my previous post, I am here restricting myself to a limited time period (the 18th century)  and am considering relatively minor literary figures as well as major ones — from Goethe and Rousseau all the way down to George Farquhar and Maler Müller. The idea is to compare the major figures with the minor ones to see if tobacco use is associated with higher (or lower) levels of literary accomplishment.

I have put my data (what I have so far) on a spreadsheet here, which anyone can read and edit. So take a look, and if you happen to know anything about any of these people’s smoking habits or lack thereof, just add it to the spreadsheet. After I’ve collected enough data, I’ll put up another post analyzing it.

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Filed under Drugs, Literature, Statistics

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