“In the 1970s it circulated among Left Bank intellectuals, including Sartre and Bernard-Henri Lévy, as an aid to productive writing. In 1981 it was listed as a controlled substance in the US and in 1986, after it was scheduled under the WHO Convention on Psychotropic Substances, it was removed from prescription sale.” The London Review of Books reviews two histories about the role of drugs in the fighting of wars, Blitzed: Drugs In the Third Reich by Norman Ohler and Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare by Łukasz Kamieński Hurst. Both pay particular attention to Captagon (the name a portmanteau of “captain” and “pentagon”), a pharmaceutical that has become common throughout Eastern Europe, the Gulf States, India, and China, and by 2014 “had become a significant source of funding for all sides in Syria’s civil war.”
Last week we mentioned that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Americanah will, all going well, become a movie starring Lupita Nyong'o. We also mentioned that she wrote about her Year in Reading for us last year. But wait, here's more! The Rumpus has interviewed Adichie about Americanah, and it's well worth the read.
"Chekhov’s contemporaries wondered: What sort of Russian writer was he? He had no solution to the ultimate questions. With no 'general idea' to teach, wasn’t he more like a talented Frenchman or Englishman born in the wrong place?" (And our own Sonya Chung argues that personal character was in fact his "general idea.")
The theatrical trailer for the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey was released this week. If you’re keeping track, that means we’ve now got a film based on fan fiction written about another film adapted from a schlocky romance novel involving vampires. (Come at me, Twilight fans.)