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The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater: And Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Thomas De Quincey , Grevel Lindop

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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics) Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics) 4.0 out of 5 stars (30)
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Book Description

2 July 1998 Oxford World's Classics
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is an account of the early life and opium addiction of Thomas De Quincey, in prose which is by turns witty, conversational, and nightmarish. 'On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth' offers both a small masterpiece of Shakespearian interpretation and a provocative statement of De Quincey's personal aesthetic of contrast and counterpoint. Suspiria de Profundis blends autobiography and philosophical speculation into a series of dazzling prose-poems which explore the mysteries of time, memory, and suffering. 'The English Mail-Coach' develops a richly apocalyptic vision which sets nineteenth-century England's political and imperial grandeur against the suffering and loss of innocence which it entails. This selection presents De Quincey's major works in their original uncut and unrevised versions, which in some cases have not been available for many years.

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First Sentence
TO THE READER.-I here present you, courteous reader, with the record of a remarkable period in my life: according to my application of it, I trust that it will prove, not merely an interesting record, but, in a considerable degree, useful and instructive. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the DeQuincey you want 10 Jan 2001
By S. Gustafson - Published on
If you are choosing between several editions of the -Opium Eater-, this one is the one you want.

True, it does not have Alethea Hayter's introduction, like the Penguin edition has; that being a point in that one's favour. But here you -also- get the entire -Suspiria de Profundis-, which is in many ways more beautiful and interesting than the Opium Eater itself. -Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow- must surely be the single greatest prose poem ever written in English.

The -Suspiria- was intended as a sequel to the -Opium Eater-, and those who enjoy the one will want them both.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 July 2014
By stuart - Published on
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic I would recommend reading 26 Aug 2010
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
I found this book extremely heavy going. It is a recognized Classic, and many praise the marvels of DeQuincey's highly metaphorical language. But I felt myself laboring to get from one page to the next. There are interesting parts in the story of his early years and especially in his time on the streets of London. There are a few incredible passages one which I found especially interesting. This comes in his describing the effect Opium has on him.

"The sense of space, and in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c. were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to conceive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night; nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience."

This kind of 'mind expansion' so promoted by the psychedelic of the sixties is in my judgment not a path to deeper truth, but rather to hallucination.
This work apparently inspired many to take drugs, with very varied results.
For me the revelations of such experiments are not great truth but rather self- delusion.
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