Thomas De Quincey

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De Quincey, Thomas

(də kwĭn`sē), 1785–1859, English essayist. In 1802 he ran away from school and tramped about the country, eventually settling in London. His family soon found him and entered him (1803) in Worcester College, Oxford, where he developed a deep interest in German literature and philosophy. He left Oxford in 1808 without completing his degree and settled (1809) at Grasmere, where he made the acquaintance of Wordsworth. By 1817 the opium habit, which he had begun while at Oxford, had reached its height. He achieved literary eminence with the publication of his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), which first appeared in the London Magazine in 1821. It is an account of the progress of his drug habit, including descriptions of the bizarre and spectacular dreams he had while under the influence of opium. He became a prolific contributor to various journals, especially to Blackwood's, Edinburgh, after 1825. Among his best works—all written in a polished, highly imaginative, and discursive prose—are "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts," "Suspiria de Profundis," "On the English Mail-Coach," "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," and Autobiographic Sketches (1853).


See his letters (ed. by W. H. Bonner, 1936); his diary for 1803 (ed. by H. A. Eaton, 1927); biographies by E. Sackville-West (1936), H. A. Eaton (1936, repr. 1972), G. Lindop (1981), and F. Wilson (2016); studies by J. E. Jordan (1952, repr. 1973), A. Goldman (1965), V. A. DeLuca (1980), and R. L. Snyder, ed. (1986).

De Quincey, Thomas


Born Aug. 15, 1785, in Manchester; died Dec. 8, 1859, in Edinburgh. British author.

In his autobiographical work Confessions of an English Opium-eater (1822; Russian translation, 1834), De Quincey combined the story of his life of poverty with descriptions of his visions under the influence of narcotics. He published a newspaper which had a conservative orientation. In his literary affinities he was close to the poets of the lake school. He wrote works on Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley, and Keats and contributed to the development of decadent literature.


The Collected Writings, vols. 1–14. Edited by D. Masson. London, 1896–97.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 2, issue 1. Moscow, 1953.
Proctor, S. K. Thomas De Quincey’s Theory of Literature. New York, 1966. (Bibliography, pp. 299–306.)
Green, J. A. Thomas De Quincey: A Bibliography. New York [1968].
References in periodicals archive ?
32) On 28 May Quatremere de Quincy wrote to Canova to inform him of the move, adding that he didn't know its final destination, but creatively suggesting that it could be adapted into a 'Peacemaking Mars' (Matte pacifero) for its new setting, with the simple addition of a bronze helmet, a staff in one hand and a figure of peace in the other.
A letter from Canova to Quatremere de Quincy dated 2 March 1816 suggests that he accepted the situation: 'It is just as well that things remain as they are, it is not the time to talk about such matters at the moment and the proposal would never have been accepted.
Coleridge and De Quincy represent the aesthetic counterparts to Burke and Paine, vividly depicting the effect on Romantic British culture of discourses regulating the body.
Other reviewers stated the novel reminded one of Burton, De Quincy, and Charles Lamb.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam met with, His Excellency Bruno Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba at Maison Queau de Quincy yesterday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed the families of the Seychellois currently in imprisonment in Qena, in the Arab Republic of Egypt at Maison Queau de Quincy.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam, and Minister for Home Affairs, JoE1/2l Morgan met with the Minister for Defence of the Kingdom of Denmark, at Maison Queau de Quincy were they reiterated that operations to counter piracy must remain high on the international agenda.