The Image of Opium and Morphine in Hispanic Modernista Literature, 1876-1949 explores the images of opium and morphine in Hispanic prose and poetry of the turn of the twentieth century. This study examines the use of opiates in Hispanic literature in relation to society, the artist and the artistic process in four different manifestations: opium as parallel to the literary process, opiates’ role in the modernista aesthetic agenda, the role of morphine in anti-dandy/anti-European literature and opium smoke as a symbol of national illness and degeneration in sinophobic literature. The dissertation concludes that the use of opiates in Hispanic prose and poetry is fundamental to the relationship of the artist to their country’s role in the modernization process. The corpus of the dissertation includes the works of canonical authors such as José Asunción Silva, Rubén Darío, and Emilia Pardo Bazán but also incorporates writers on the margins of canonical study such as José María Vargas Vila, Santiago Rusiñol and Francisco Villaespesa. By viewing these works through the lens of opiate consumption, this dissertation will open a new field in Hispanic literary studies and will provide a new perspective on the Modernisms of Spain and Spanish America in relation to nation building, national identity and discourses of illness.