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 historyfrom 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 candorbecause it would be published only from beyond the tomb”makes it almost ridiculously enjoyable.
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.
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.
About the Author
François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) was the most conspicuous figure in French literature during the First Empire and is credited as the founder of French Romanticism. Philip Mansel is the author of over a dozen books on French history and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature.
Table of Contents
Confessions of an English opium-eater - Suspiria de profundis - The English mail-coach.