Literary tobacco

Open forum for all subject for smokers in general
Post Reply
User avatar
A_Morley
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Posts: 10454
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 6:00 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Literary tobacco

Post by A_Morley » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:39 pm

Given that I like books more than people and that I spend most of my time reading, to say nothing of having double majored in American Literature in addition to Theater, I like to theorize about various literary character's psychology and habits. Whenever I encounter a pipe smoking character in a book I especially like to imagine what sort of pipe and tobacco they might be smoking. After all, it's not often explicitly stated in the text what it is that they are smoking. It's not to say that I'll imagine a character as smoking exactly such a pipe and tobacco, but just giving my imagination a close approximation.

Here are some of my visualizations:

Sherlock Holmes: Gawith & Hoggarth's Dark Birdseye or Kendal Dark in a dirty clay pipe. I've looked into what nineteenth century shag tobacco would have been like. Kendal Dark has burley in it, if I recall correctly, and British tobaccos of that era wouldn't have contained burley. All the same, it's sufficiently strong and harsh.

Maigret: I imagine him smoking a very basic Virginia ribbon. I don't know what most French pipe smokers would have been smoking in mid twentieth century Paris, but I know that Georges Simenon smoked Royal Yacht and other custom Dunhill Virginias.

C. Auguste Dupin: I imagine him smoking Grousemoor in a meerschaum. The meerschaum is explicitly mentioned in "The Purloined Letter". Grousemoor seems like the kind of thing a shabby genteel, early nineteenth century recluse would have been smoking.

The crew of the Pequod in Moby-Dick: short clays with Gawith & Hoggarth Black Pigtail. Nineteenth century American sailors would likely be smoking rope tobacco or plug tobacco of some sort. I imagine that Ishmael and Queequeg smoking some pungent, brown, rope type tobacco out of Queequeg's tomahawk pipe. Such tobacco was also what was likely brought in the ship's hold for the long voyage, so that's what Stub would have been smoking in his short, black pipe. Perhaps Ahab had something nicer to smoke set aside in his cabin. I also imagine him having a nicer pipe than the rest of the men, perhaps a meerschaum, before he threw it into the sea, that is.

Gavin Stevens: George Washington cut plug in a corn cob. Faulkner's indomitable country lawyer Gavin Stevens was described as having "a constant cob pipe" in all of the novels and stories he appeared in. I imagine him smoking some sort of now vanished codger burley like George Washington cut plug. Maybe Edgeworth. What sort of pipe tobacco would have been popular in Mississippi of the twenties, thirties, and forties I wonder? I know Faulkner himself smoked SWR, Dunhill's 965, and Balkan Sobranie.

Hobbits of Middle Earth: I always imagined Middle Earth pipe weed as being something like what American Indians would have smoked, that is to say, not entirely tobacco, but rather some portion of nicotiana rustica mixed with herbs and flowers such as mullein, deer tongue, sweetgrass, and the like. Then again, I've never smoked Bob's Shortcut to Mushrooms.
His Eminence
Cardinal of CPS

User avatar
hugodrax
All Around Nice Guy
All Around Nice Guy
Posts: 14600
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:00 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by hugodrax » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:02 pm

I can help you with Maigret. He smoked Caporal Gris. Numerous references to the grey packet.

Simeon was more interesting. Dunhill Royal Yacht in a wider cut, house labeled for him as Coupe Maigret.

Great post.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

User avatar
A_Morley
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Posts: 10454
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 6:00 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by A_Morley » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:20 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:02 pm
I can help you with Maigret. He smoked Caporal Gris. Numerous references to the grey packet.

Simeon was more interesting. Dunhill Royal Yacht in a wider cut, house labeled for him as Coupe Maigret.

Great post.
I remember the grey packet. I wasn't sure what was meant by it. Thank you for the insight.
His Eminence
Cardinal of CPS

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 32284
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by UncleBob » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:27 pm

On Hobbits: I have given considerable time contemplating this very question. For me, I consider how on occasion Hobbits were described as liking "good plain food" and drink. Also, Tolkien seemed (to me) to pattern the Hobbits off of the British and, in particular, the rural British. He seemed to equate many of the sentiments of this group with Hobbits throughout the narrative. So I would argue that they smoked tobacco that was akin to Virginia leaf with the main differences being the flavors garnished from the different soils in which it was grown. There may have been some varietals but Hobbits had not adopted the pastime long enough for any Hobbit-induced unnatural selection of consequence to have occurred. Think about how Old Toby was so prized over the other tobaccos. It is possible that variations could occur due to aging or curing but I always imagined them harvesting it and air curing the leaf in pole barns.

It could be that some were more burley plants but these (in my mind) would be more to the type of leaf available to the ruffians just prior to the raising of the Shire while the choicest leaf, like Old Toby, was shipped off to Saruman.

The Middle Earth Series I made was catered more to the contemporary, human pipesmoker with the hope that they were reminiscent to particular aspects of the books.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 32284
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by UncleBob » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:44 pm

The crew of the Pequod in Moby-Dick: I always imagined them smoking "Ships", which was thought to be very harsh, cheap Virginia and/or burley that was coarsely cut and improperly or poorly cured.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

User avatar
JudgeRusty
Didn't even get to wear his hat
Didn't even get to wear his hat
Posts: 5552
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:00 pm
Location: VA

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by JudgeRusty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:00 pm

Keep this thread moving. My lack of participation is not from lack of interest but ignorance.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal

User avatar
Sir Moose
President Jar-Jar Binks fan club: "Meesa tink he da best!" - Perpetually in Trouble
President Jar-Jar Binks fan club: "Meesa tink he da best!" - Perpetually in Trouble
Posts: 2468
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:17 am
Location: NW Washington
Contact:

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by Sir Moose » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:40 pm

JudgeRusty wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:00 pm
Keep this thread moving. My lack of participation is not from lack of interest but ignorance.
What he said.
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

User avatar
A_Morley
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Cardinal Uncle Nacho
Posts: 10454
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 6:00 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by A_Morley » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:43 am

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe was most often described as a cigarette smoker, specifically Camel straights, but he also indulged in a pipe, usually at home while he was mulling over a case or working on a chess problem. I like to imagine Marlowe having two or three really nice briars, a Dunhill, a Barling, maybe a top shelf Kaywoodie, that he has on his desk for these quiet moments. I imagine him being similarly conscientious about his choice of tobacco, favoring one of the high end mixtures of the era such as Balkan Sobranie or Blue Boar or Dunhill's Baby's Bottom. He was, after all, an intelligent, sensitive type only driven to confront the harsh and the ugly in the world on account of his choice of profession and the vicissitudes of the world and of his own impulses.

I like to imagine that Marlowe first bought his pipes at a sore in Portland called Leonard's, a great old Oregon tobacco shop that would have been there when he attended the University of Oregon between the wars such as he was described as having done. After he moved to LA, perhaps he became a customer of Ed Koplin's shop on Wilshire Blvd.

Raymond Chandler was himself a pipe smoker, a seemingly constant pipe smoker if photographs and first hand accounts are to be believed. In more than a few pictures of Chandler with a pipe you will notice the telltale Dunhill white spot on the stem. I'm less clear on his preferred tobacco. I seem to remember reading something about his smoking Dill's Mixture. What Dill's Mixture was remains a mystery to me.
His Eminence
Cardinal of CPS

KYBURLEY
Congregation
Congregation
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:43 pm

Re: Literary tobacco

Post by KYBURLEY » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:17 am

A_Morley wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:43 am
Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe was most often described as a cigarette smoker, specifically Camel straights, but he also indulged in a pipe, usually at home while he was mulling over a case or working on a chess problem. I like to imagine Marlowe having two or three really nice briars, a Dunhill, a Barling, maybe a top shelf Kaywoodie, that he has on his desk for these quiet moments. I imagine him being similarly conscientious about his choice of tobacco, favoring one of the high end mixtures of the era such as Balkan Sobranie or Blue Boar or Dunhill's Baby's Bottom. He was, after all, an intelligent, sensitive type only driven to confront the harsh and the ugly in the world on account of his choice of profession and the vicissitudes of the world and of his own impulses.

I like to imagine that Marlowe first bought his pipes at a sore in Portland called Leonard's, a great old Oregon tobacco shop that would have been there when he attended the University of Oregon between the wars such as he was described as having done. After he moved to LA, perhaps he became a customer of Ed Koplin's shop on Wilshire Blvd.

Raymond Chandler was himself a pipe smoker, a seemingly constant pipe smoker if photographs and first hand accounts are to be believed. In more than a few pictures of Chandler with a pipe you will notice the telltale Dunhill white spot on the stem. I'm less clear on his preferred tobacco. I seem to remember reading something about his smoking Dill's Mixture. What Dill's Mixture was remains a mystery to me.
I imagine Chandler's other detective, Sam Spade, smoking blends from Druquers. The stories were set in San Francisco after all.

Post Reply