Did you already fail at Dry January? Don't worry. Literature is on your side. Here are 14 author quotes that illustrate the complicated relationship between humans and alcohol. 

1. Friedrich Nietzsche

“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.”
The Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ


2. George Orwell

“No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid; but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid.”
Reflections on Gandhi


3. Mark Twain

“This...was a good enough hotel, and comfortable, but there was nothing grand about it but the bill...Except in the case of one item—Scotch whiskey. I ordered a sup of that, for I always take it at at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had the toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.”
Europe and Elsewhere


4. Ernest Hemingway

“You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.”
The Sun Also Rises


5. Edgar Allan Poe

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
1848 letter


6. Sylvia Plath

“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.”
The Bell Jar


7. Toni Morrison

“She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it's there, because it can't hurt, and because what difference does it make?”
Song of Solomon


8. Oscar Wilde

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
Conversation with Ada "the Sphinx" Leverson


9. George Bernard Shaw

“To the poor man, liquor is the chloroform that allows him to endure the painful operation of living.”
1930 interview with Cosmopolitan magazine


10. William Faulkner

“When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me.”
1954 conversation with Lauren Bacall


11. Alexandre Dumas

“So much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have some bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts.”
The Count of Monte Cristo


12. Charles Baudelaire

"One should always be drunk. That's all that matters... But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk."
Petits poèmes en prose: Le spleen de Paris


13. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“And the more I drink the more I feel it. That's why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink...I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!"
Crime and Punishment


14. Charles Dickens

“'But punch, my dear Copperfield,' said Mr. Micawber, tasting it, 'like time and tide, waits for no man. Ah! it is at the present moment in high flavour. My love, will you give me your opinion?'"
David Copperfield



Feature image via ZME Science