Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Paperback Book

Confessions of an English Opium Eater Paperback

Part of the Penguin Great Ideas series

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Describing the surreal hallucinations, insomnia and nightmarish visions he experienced while consuming daily large amounts of laudanum, Thomas De Quincey's legendary account of the pleasures and pains of opium forged a link between artistic self-expression and addiction, and paved the way for later generations of literary drug-takers from Baudelaire to Burroughs.

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Autobiography: literary
  • ISBN: 9780141043890

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Most likely my favorite autobiographical essay, for many reasons, but ultimately not because Quincey delicately describes the persuasions of a most desirable experience I have found myself in but more because he sets the scene for a man who would want to feel "agitated, writhing, throbbing, palpitating, shattered" in the mental faculties that were only heightened by his usage of the drug, at the time one that was not proper to write about. I’m not sure if the group Death in June named themselves after the following passage but I shall quote:June, 1819.I have had occasion to remark, at various periods of my life, that the deaths of those whom we love, and indeed the contemplation of death generally, is (caeteris paribus) [‘other things being equal’], more effecting in summer than in any other season of the year. De Quincey's explanation of why this is the case is phenomenal, but the album "But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?" suffices to aurally describe his words.

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