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Document Details :
Title: Longing for Unconsciousness
Author(s): HOLMBERG, Bo
Journal: ARAM Periodical
Volume: 17 Date: 2005
In the following paper, I intend to approach certain aspects of excessive, or heavy, drinking in the Middle East (and elsewhere) from a mainly psychological point of view. This psychological approach is meant to be complementary to the historical approach adopted in many of the other contributions to our conference. Having said this, I may perhaps be excused for referring to scholars and authors not usually referred to at conferences sponsored by the ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies. But do not lose heart! In a more narrow sense, I aim at trying to understand a particular anecdote on heavy drinking in Kitāb adab al-ghurabā attributed to Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī and edited in English a couple of years ago by Patricia Crone and Shmuel Moreh under the title The Book of Strangers. Medieval Arabic Graffiti on the Theme of Nostalgia. Presently, I will return to this particular anecdote. But before doing so, a few words have to be said about nostalgia, strangers, unconsciousness vs. consciousness and the role intoxicating beverages may play in this connection.