Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings

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A masterpiece of autobiography, and perhaps the first literary memoir of an addict, the Penguin Classics edition of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is edited with an introduction by Barry Milligan.

Confessions is a remarkable account of the pleasures and pains of worshipping at the 'Church of Opium'. Thomas De Quincey consumed daily large quantities of laudanum (at the time a legal painkiller), and this autobiography of addiction hauntingly describes his surreal visions and hallucinatory nocturnal wanderings through London, along with the nightmares, despair and paranoia to which he became prey. The result is a work in which the effects of drugs and the nature of dreams, memory and imagination are seamlessly interwoven, describing in intimate detail the mind-altering pleasures and pains unique to opium. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater forged a link between artistic self-expression and addiction, paving the way for later generations of literary addicts from Baudelaire to James Frey, and anticipating psychoanalysis with its insights into the subconscious.

This edition is based on the original serial version of 1821, and reproduces two 'sequels', 'Suspiria de Profundis' (1845) and 'The English Mail-Coach' (1849). It also includes a critical introduction discussing the romantic figure of the addict and the tradition of confessional literature, and an appendix on opium in the nineteenth century.

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) studied at Oxford, failing to take his degree but discovering opium. He later met Coleridge, Southey and the Wordsworths. From 1828 until his death he lived in Edinburgh and made his living from journalism.

If you enjoyed Confessions of an English Opium-Eater , you might like William S. Burroughs' Junky , available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'De Quincey was one of the first great autobiographers' Jonathan Bate

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 86aeacaa-597d-0366-ca3e-be26bbcb8289
full_title confessions of an english opium eater and other writings
author de quincey thomas
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-01-17 04:07:37AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Milligan, Barry., Whitworth, Thomas.
author De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859.
author-letter De Quincey, Thomas,
author2 Milligan, Barry., Whitworth, Thomas., hoopla digital.
author2-role Milligan, Barry., Whitworth, Thomas.|Narrator, hoopla digital.
author_additional Thomas De Quincey ; edited with an introduction and notes by Barry Milligan., Thomas De Quincey.
author_display De Quincey, Thomas
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callnumber-a PR4532
callnumber-first P - Language and Literature
callnumber-subject PR - English Literature
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date_added 2004-08-12T06:00:00Z
days_since_added 4546
detailed_location_boulder Boulder Main Adult NonFiction, Online Hoopla Collection
display_description In 1804, while a student at Oxford, Thomas De Quincey was looking for relief from excruciating pain when a college acquaintance recommended opium. "Opium!" De Quincey wrote. "Dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain! I had heard of it as I had of manna or of Ambrosia, but no further: how unmeaning a sound it was at that time!" Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, De Quincey's best-known work, is an account of his early life and opium addiction, in prose that is by turns witty, conversational, and nightmarish. The Confessions involve the listener in De Quincey's childhood and schooling, describing in detail his flight at age sixteen from Manchester Grammar School, his wanderings in North Wales and London, and his experiences with opium, which developed into a lifelong dependency.
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edition Unabridged.
era 1785-1859, 19th century
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genre_facet Biography
geographic_facet England, Great Britain
grouping_category book
id 86aeacaa-597d-0366-ca3e-be26bbcb8289
isbn 9780140439014, 9781481541909
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lc_subject Authors, English, Drug addicts, Opium abuse
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local_callnumber_boulder 828 DeQuincey
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oclc 51272324
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (3hr., 30 min.)) : digital., xliv, 296 p. ; 20 cm.
popularity 4
primary_isbn 9780140439014
publishDate 2003, 2007
publishDateSort 2003
publisher Blackstone Audio, Inc. :, Made available through hoopla,, Penguin Books,
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series Penguin classics
series2 Penguin classics.
series_with_volume Penguin classics
subject_facet Authors, English -- 19th century -- Biography, De Quincey, Thomas, -- 1785-1859, Drug addicts -- Great Britain -- Biography, Opium abuse -- England
table_of_contents Confessions of an English opium-eater -- Suspiria de profundis -- The English mail-coach.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings
title_display Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings
title_full Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings / Thomas De Quincey ; edited with an introduction and notes by Barry Milligan, Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings [electronic resource] / Thomas De Quincey
title_short Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings
title_sort confessions of an english opium-eater and other writings
topic Authors, English 19th century Biography, De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859, Drug addicts Great Britain Biography, Opium abuse England
topic_facet Authors, English, De Quincey, Thomas, Drug addicts, Opium abuse