In the story, the cat's first appearance is very suggestive: the hogshead of course stands for the sins of the oral drive (gluttony, dipsomania
) which ultimately lead to the death drive.
In the novel itself, then, Nana embodies "the new focus on the dangers of unrestrained consumption" and its association with female desire (Felski 77), but it is Rhys's invented cover for an English edition that links Nana's kleptomaniac tendencies with dipsomania
and racial otherness.
El agua siempre fue y es mi unica bebida y los desplantes y los desequilibrios de la dipsomania
me producen invencible repugnancia>> (MEM, pp.
Their attitude towards world affairs could be summed up in the words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather what your country can do for me." At anything other than dipsomania
, rutting, and self-aggrandisement, they were simply--to employ an obsolescent but useful British acronym--N.B.G.: No Bloody Good.
Born in 1905, Byron was a member of the so-called Brideshead Generation: that extraordinary cluster of people, marked by high literary talent and charisma (not to mention dipsomania
), who burst onto the scene in the Twenties.
In 1840, for instance, when the phrase "mental illness" had not yet entered the vocabulary, the US census acknowledged just a single form of madness, "idiocy/insanity," and failed even to provide a definition of it, relying instead on presumed common sense and the sort of thinking operative in the common law's long-standing M'Naughten Rule (dating from an 1843 political assassination case) which specifies legal insanity as "the inability to know the difference between right and wrong." In the 1880 US census, the number of listed mental disorders had jumped to seven: mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia, dipsomania
, and, a little incongruously to modern eyes, epilepsy.
A paranoid planner fearful of the boredom accompanying the successful completion of his design, Doctor Triceps hungers for new cases of dipsomania
Ellis associates women's "periodicity" with a catalogue of behaviors he deems to be pathological, from "depression...so pronounced as almost or quite to amount to insanity" to "migraine...hysterical or epileptic fits," to "erotomania, dipsomania
, and kleptomania;' even to "criminal violence" (126).
Those ideals were spontaneity ("I Tried to Write Spontaneous Prose but All I Ever Got Was Tired," counters Carl Watson), sexual profligacy ("What if [Neal Cassady] wasn't the greatest fast-speaking, bebop-loving, accelerator-pressing, woman-leaving hipster who ever lived?" asks Sparrow), and a romanticized Buddhism ("Transcending the ego," Tom Savage observes of Kerouac's dipsomania
, "was not intended to mean destroying its container").
(In the 1840s, however, southern alienists anticipated the DSM-IV by discovering a malady called Drapetomania -- the inexplicable, mad longing of a slave for freedom.) The 1880 census obligingly followed the march of science by listing no fewer than seven categories of dementia: mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia (again), dipsomania
, and epilepsy.
She also had a tendency to dipsomania
, and as was to be expected (my parents were good bourgeois), they opposed the relationship.
When that stimulant was gone, she would take to whiskey" (17).(12) By rehearsing this outcome, which the conclusion proves wrong, s/he reiterates prevailing middle-class assumptions about laborers--namely, that most if not all eventually succumbed to (or indulged in) dipsomania
. What obscures the irony of the storyteller's asserting these prejudices is the close identification struck with the narratee.