Spirit of the Age

Olivia Williams takes issue with some of the wilder assertions and anachronisms contained in Thomas Maples’ otherwise engaging 1991 article on the 18th-century gin craze.


The gin craze, London’s first binge drinking crisis, is prone to oversimplification: partly because it makes for an irresistibly dramatic story and also because it inspired vivid portrayals among contemporary writers and artists. It is all too easy to be swept along on a wave of juniper-scented, 18th-century hysteria.

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