I thought Opium and Other Stories might be an excellent storybook to finish November. He was an author I had never read before, and since he was a psychiatrist and a music critic as well, I thought his stories might be quite different. I was not wrong in my guess. His stories were as disturbing as they were different.
Opium and Other Stories is composed of stories written by the Hungarian writer Géza Csáth in 1908, each one more strange and disturbing than the other. In some of them, there were places I couldn’t read because I am not a person who can endure the torture of animals. I felt the influence of some of them very deeply after the story ended. But there is darkness and discomfort in all of them.
If we look at the life of the author, we can say that it is inevitable that he wrote such stories. After graduating as a doctor, he was particularly interested in the effects of narcotics on humans. Because of this interest, he started to use morphine and unfortunately became addicted to it. Due to this addiction, he began to show symptoms of paranoia in later times. He committed suicide with poison after he shot and killed his wife.
Géza Csáth is a different author in every way. His stories might be for you if you like dark stories. But remember that I’ve warned you. Enjoy!
Opium and Other Stories
“Csáth’s short stories are and extraordinary, uneasy mixture of sentimentality, sadism, and sexual repressions. Nasty tales, not dissimilar to some of the fictions of the contemporary United States and United Kingdom. Both countries in which the collective dream has, latterly, also broken down under the impact of too much reality. During Csáth’s lifetime Sigmund Freud, the scrutineer of dreams, built up the enormous hypothesis of the unconscious in Vienna. The greatest city of the empire, which encompassed Hungary, Csáth’s homeland, more and more uneasy.
It is difficult to read Csáth, a specialist in ‘nervous disorders’ himself, without thinking of Freud’s analysis of the subtext of human experience…. [An] opium addict and therefore a specialist in dreams, [Csáth] wrote short stories comfortless as bad dreams, sometimes decorating them languorously with art-nouveau impedimenta of lilies, lotuses, and sulphurous magic, at other times relating them in the cool, neutral language of the case-book. He was also a doctor. No real contradiction here; The medical profession not only offers free access to narcotics but often. Since it involves considerable exposure to human suffering. Implicity invites their use” – From the Introduction by Angela Carter
Géza Csáth was a Hungarian writer, playwright, musician, music critic, psychiatrist, murderer and physician. He was the cousin of Dezső Kosztolányi.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: