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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater: And Other Writingsby Thomas de Quincey
Thomas de Quincey began using laudanum (opium and alcohol) at the age of 28 for stomach pains, but soon after began using it regularly. His life eventually became a back-and-forth struggle with addiction. The later part of his life was riddled with withdrawal-induced nightmares and hallucinations, until it became impossible for de Quincey to distinguish reality from illusion. Confessions is an honest and insightful account of addiction in the 19th century from the addict's point of view. Many of the side effects of opium use that de Quncey describes were previously unknown prior to the publication of Confessions 1822.
Synopses & Reviews
The only available edition in English of the greatest of all French autobiographies
By the time he came to write his extraordinary, highly entertaining memoirs, Chateaubriand had witnessed some of the iconic figures and events of French history—from the court of Louis XVI, to the reign of Napoleon, to the disaster of Waterloo, to life under the Restoration. Written across different times and places, Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb tells of exotic adventures to the farthest points of the globe, of heroic battles and political struggles, and of the loneliness of a restless soul. And its startling candor—because it would be published only from beyond the tomb”—makes it almost ridiculously enjoyable.
Determined to counter the lies about opium that had been told by travellers to the Orient and the medical profession, De Quincey describes his addiction, the consciousness-altering properties of the drugs, its pleasures and its pains.
In this remarkable autobiography, Thomas De Quincey hauntingly describes the surreal visions and hallucinatory nocturnal wanderings he took through London—and the nightmares, despair, and paranoia to which he became prey—under the influence of the then-legal painkiller laudanum. Forging a link between artistic self-expression and addiction, Confessions seamlessly weaves the effects of drugs and the nature of dreams, memory, and imagination. First published in 1821, it paved the way for later generations of literary drug users, from Baudelaire to Burroughs, and anticipated psychoanalysis with its insights into the subconscious.
About the Author
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) studied at Oxford and failed to take his degree but discovered opium. He later met Coleridge, Southey, and the Wordsworths and worked as a journalist in Edinburgh.
Table of Contents
Confessions of an English opium-eater - Suspiria de profundis - The English mail-coach.
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