Avital Ronell asks why "there is no culture without drug culture." Tracing and tracking the zones of modern dependencies, she deals with the usual drugs and alcohol (and their celebrities: Freud's cocaine, Baudelaire's hashish, the Victorians' laudanum), and moves beyond them to addictive mappings that are culturally accepted -- an insatiable appetite for romance novels, for instance, and romance itself as well as the satellite technologies of our everyday existence. It is a commonplace of modern culture to presume that there is a subculture or counterculture deeply saturated with drugs, but such modern cultures need subcultures, and need drugs on every level. Culture defines itself, its classes, its power structures, and its economy in terms of how it allows and encourages drugs to circulate. If drugs are dangerous and belong to a thinking of the death drive, that danger seems to increase their appeal for millions. Where do the mind-altering effects of drugs begin? What is art but a kind of drug, a source as Baudelaire and Benjamin state of intoxicated destructuring? On a political scale, Ronell investigates how the so-called drug culture has become the perverted site for state-sanctioned ethnocide. Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary takes up the problems of drugs and addiction in numerous ways, which Ronell unpacks and presents as exemplary of the contemporary fascination with extreme danger. For Ronell, Emma Bovary represents the first addict, embodying a yearning that calls from the bottom of her depleted soul, and which places her in a chronic state of dissatisfaction.