ALCOHOLITE AT THE ALTAR
An odyssey of twenty chapters, Alcoholite at the Altar brings together Roger Forseth's most important writings on matters he illuminated as a distinguished literary scholar and a survivor of advanced alcoholic disease.
From a pioneer in the field of addiction and literature, Roger Forseth, comes a singular collection of essays on the complex role that alcohol has played in the lives of our literary heroes and their characters. With a focus on Prohibition-era writers, Forseth’s humanistic scholarship speaks to a breadth of professional fields as well as literary enthusiasts of all kinds. From poignant epigraphs to footnotes filled with supporting literary and scientific data (to say nothing of an epic index), Alcoholite At The Altar is a Great Books-style education and feast for the mind on the pleasures of comparative literature and unpretentious prose that is both entertaining and economical. Essential reading for anyone interested in the humanities, the social sciences or the matter of addiction, Forseth’s body of work will take his audience on a rich literary ride as it explores the human condition in all its thirst.
Praise for the Author
“Forseth was not only an uncommonly good writer, he was an enthusiastic researcher and his passion for research is both palpable and contagious.”
—Frank Wilson, The Catholic World Report
“Forseth’s strongest feeling of spiritual connection was with Sinclair Lewis… His analysis of Lewis’s novels is consistently thoughtful and often revealing. It is also persuasive in arguing that one cannot understand his work without knowing of his drinking problems, which have been greatly underestimated in recent times. So, one might say, has Forseth’s own transparent and intelligent writing.”
—Jonathan Leaf, The New Criterion
“A worthy and touching remembrance. The collection is a worthy addition to the literature. If there’s a heaven, Prof. Forseth is feeling very proud of his granddaughter.”
—Richard Lingeman (Author, Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street, richardlingeman.com)
"Roger Forseth's writing is so lively and absorbing that one wishes there were more."
"When I learned that Roger, on alternative nights, read one of Shakespeare's sonnets or a letter by Keats, my first reaction was: how sensible. This is a man who knows how to enjoy himself and understands what's important, an impression confirmed when we exchanged thoughts on such mutual enthusiasms as Coleridge, Auden, and Raymond Chandler. His scholarly work on alcoholism and American writers will prove invaluable to future scholars and readers, but I will always think of Roger as the man who knew what to read before turning out the light."
—Patrick Kurp (Anecdotal Evidence)
"The pioneering work in the field was done by an Americanist, Roger Forseth, whose careful and provocative studies of such writers as Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway use close textual analysis of novels in context of the medical model of addiction. His analyses interweave the writers' alcoholism with that of the characters in their novels. This pattern Forseth established is emulated by other major analytic works... [that] adhere to the medical model, and interweave textual and biographical analyses."
—Excerpt from Reading Alcoholisms by Jane Lilienfeld