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The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas de Quinceyby Robert Morrison
"In a gesture of admiration, Charles Baudelaire devoted half of his Artificial Paradises to a translation of Thomas De Quincey's memoirs. 'The work on opium has been written,' he explained, 'and in a manner so dazzling, medical and poetic all at once, that I would not dare add anything to it.' Would-be biographers have perhaps shared these reservations: of all the Romantics, De Quincey has received the least attention from the 'life-writing' industry. He wrote so voluminously of his own experience, of the traumas of his past as well as the 'shadowy world' of his opium dreams, that there is little room to speculate on his inner life. The biographer is largely consigned to rehashing de Quincey's version of events in a saner, scientific manner, or to parodying him." Laura Marsh, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
Author of the famed and scandalous , Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) has long lacked a full-fledged biography. His friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods--including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle--have long placed him at the center of nineteenth century literary studies. He was a man who engaged with nearly every facet of literary culture, including the roles played by publishers, booksellers, and journalists in literary production, dissemination and evaluation. His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and William Burroughs. De Quincey is a fascinating (and topical) figure for other reasons, too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison's biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected icon of English literature.
A masterful biography of one of England's most notorious literary figures.
About the Author
Robert Morrison is recognized as a world-class scholar of Romantic and Victorian literature. He is the editor of De Quincey's On Murder (Oxford) as well as a collection of critical essays on De Quincey (Routledge). Robert is currently a professor of literature at Queen's University in Ontario. He lives in Canada.
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