Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Paperback

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater Paperback

Part of the Wordsworth Classics series

1 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9781853260964


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I have not finished this book yet, but I am reviewing it anyway. It has been torture, so I feel justified. It is less than 300 pages and it has taken me a week to get through about 200 of them. I kind of hate the book.I was under the false assumption that this book would be about opium. It is really more about the writer justifying his use of opium. I guess back in the day, Colerige ousted him as having no good reason for taking opium. Unlike C. who had a perfectly good reason. Or something like that. So basically it was macho B.S. I found out very little about what opium did, whether it was socially acceptable, legal, illegal, how much it cost. Nothing. Boo.

Review by

de Quincey might confess, but he does not move me. Considered an important book for its day, "Confessions" is dated and boring. It does relate to times (1820s) when unrestricted addiction was openly available. What a waste.

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