Dalrymple is always challenging the orthodoxy, but does it from a position of strength – he knows about these people, he’s done his time with them, so for me, his ideas have a greater resonance than those of some well-heeled politician showing how compassionate he is. I think he’s spot on about the Romantics’ use of opium. I always thought that the allegedly opium-influenced poetry was easily the worst. Coleridge clearly was a great poet – but Kubla Khan is just loopy, I’m afraid.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Poppycock by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.