LSD - Mein Sorgenkind.HOFMANN, Albert
Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. 1979.
First edition. Presentation copy from Hofmann to Ralph Metzner. 220x140mm. pp. 231. Original black cloth, spine stamped in white with title and author, original illustrated dust jacket, all in excellent condition. Internally fine. Text in German. Illustrated with black and white and colour photographs. A superb copy. Title page is inscribed: "Fur Ralph Metzner in psychedelischer Verbundenheit herzlich Albert Hofmann 14 Mai, 1983". (For Ralph Metzner, in psychedelic solidarity, warm greetings, Albert Hofmann, 14 May 1983). Front pastedown has the label "From the collection of Ralph Metzner".
This immaculate copy of the first edition of Hofmann’s important account of his discovery of, and experiments with LSD, provides a wonderful link between the first and second generation of scientists and researchers who recognised and investigated the psychological benefits of the drug. Hofmann first discovered LSD in 1938 while researching medication for respiratory and circulation disorders. It was only when he went back to this research in 1943 and accidentally absorbed a small dose through his skin that he realised the hallucinogenic and consciousness-expanding qualities of the chemical. Three days later came “Bicycle Day” and the first intentional LSD trip. Hofmann was a research chemist and it was really only with the second generation of academics that serious work began to be done on the psychological impact of LSD. Ralph Metzner (who died in 2019) was a psychologist and one of the leading figures in the growing field of psychedelic research at Harvard in the early 1960s. His colleagues there were Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. Of the three, Metzner’s contribution was the most serious and influential and Hofmann recognised that. For Hofmann, LSD was his “Sorgenkind” (Problem Child) because of its adoption as a tool of rebellion by popular counter-culture. For Hofmann and Metzner the drug was about personal psychological reordering and transformation, not “turning on, tuning in and dropping out”.