Alcohol consumption – especially among young people – is an increasingly important public health issue. This course will ask what contemporary literary texts from the UK can tell us about the meanings of drinking: how does literary writing represent states of altered consciousness? Can literature reveal the subjective experience of drinking in a way that challenges the assumptions made by alcohol harm-reduction campaigns? What role do narrative and story-telling play in the construction of alcohol addiction and recovery concepts? The course will provide an introduction to interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature, discussing literary texts through and alongside perspectives from health studies, sociology and philosophy. It will consider drinking from a variety of angles – from conviviality and pleasure to escape of the self to addiction – and will explore the extent to which questions of gender, social class and identity shape the culture of drinking.