Confessions Of An English Opium Eater
With an Introduction and Notes by David Ellis, University of Kent at Canterbury.
In the first part of this famous work, published in 1821 but then revised and expanded in 1856, De Quincey vividly describes a number of experiences during his boyhood which he implies laid the foundations for his later life of helpless drug addiction. The second part consists of his remarkable account of the pleasures and pains of opium, ostensibly offered as a muted apology for the course his life had taken but often reading like a celebration of it. The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is thus both a classic of English autobiographical writing - the prose equivalent, in its own time, of Wordsworth's The Prelude or Growth of a Poet's Mind - and at the same time a crucial text in the long history of the Western World's ambivalent relationship with hard drugs. Full of psychological insight and colourful descriptive writing, it surprised and fascinated De Quincey's contemporaries and has continued to exert its powerful and eccentric appeal ever since.
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) was born in Manchester, England, the son of a textile merchant. After his father's early death, he was sent away to school, but he ran away to wander in North Wales and London. He later attended Oxford where he befriended Coleridge and William and Dorothy Wordsworth. The success of his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater launched him in a career as an essayist and critic. De Quincey's work was widely admired, but he spent much of his life in poverty and debt until the last decade of his life.
Pub Date: 2019
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 inches