I saw over at Heroes and Heartbreakers that Anna Bowling had written a post about addition in male characters in historical romance. I thought it was an interesting point to raise, since it seems in general—speaking as someone who has researched vices throughout history pretty thoroughly for her own books—that addictions were tolerated to a greater extent in the old days.
Certainly legislation has something to do with it: it’s only in the modern era that governments have had this degree of oversight into our personal lives. Sure, in medieval times, you might’ve been a vassal on some lord’s property and he could take your life under certain circumstances, but he probably didn’t give a hoot whether you were drinking yourself to death as long as you paid up the bushels of wheat that you owed him. Even in the modern era, the only thing that concerned governments about opium was whether other countries would remain open to trade (see Britain, the Opium Wars With China.)
Okay, so this is an extension of my rant again predictable, anodyne characters, but who doesn’t love to read about a self-destructive character, male or female, saddled with a fiend of an opium addiction or whoring himself to death in the brothel? Oh sure, in real life you’d run from these people faster than the swine flu, but isn’t it fun to read about them while safely tucked in bed with a book, pillows and a good light?
Okay, now it’s your turn: who are your favorite rakes and libertines, books or movies? What about Captain James Macleane in Plunkett & Macleane?