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with Mike Jay at the Century Club - Soho W1
Wednesday 11th September 2019
Doors open at 6:30 pm, Talk commences at 7:00 pm
The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley’s 1954 report of his first mescaline trip, launched the psychedelic era. The story of mescaline, however extends deep into history: from the temples of ancient Peru to the deserts of Mexico and the origins of the Native American peyote ceremony, which brought it to the attention of modern science in the 1890s. Indeed in fin-de-siècle London it was investigated by aesthetes such as Havelock Ellis and W.B. Yeats, and in the 1930s psychiatrists at the Maudsley Hopital injected Surrealist artists with pharmaceutical mescaline to study their hallucinations.
In this talk, historian Mike Jay provides a definitive history of mescaline exploring its mind-altering effects across cultures, from ancient America to Western modernity.
Mike Jay has written widely on the history of psychoactive drugs. He was the co-curator of the Wellcome Collection’s 2010 exhibition, High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture, and wrote the accompanying book. His latest book, Mescaline: a global history of the first psychedelic is accompanied by the exhibition Brilliant Visions: mescaline, art, psychiatry at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind (runs until 31 August). More at mikejay.net