Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

This autobiographical account of his opium addiction is De Quincey’s most famous work and was first published in 1822, although an enlarged edition was published in 1856. Like Coleridge at around the same time, De Quincey took opium initially to ease physical pain but increased the dosage enough to become addicted. The book consists of eloquent descriptions in a prose-poetic style of the psychological effects of the drug. His childhood experiences become symbolic visions and the story has much in common with the novel of the period where the psychology of the individual played an increasingly important part, especially in the book’s latter stages. De Quincey shows us the extreme euphoria of his initial experiences with opium but also documents the darkness and the nightmares conferred by the later stages to which is dedicated a more haunting prose style less redolent of the beautiful rhetoric of Milton or Thomas Browne. The book is also important for being one of the first to empathise and focus on childhood suffering as Dickens would later in the nineteenth century.

Table of contents
Part 1
To the Reader
Preliminary Confessions
Part 2
The Pleasures of Opium
Introduction to the Pains of Opium
The Pains of Opium

  By PanEris using Melati.

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