Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Thomas de Quincy tells of his opium addiction, his nightmarish experiences, and the sufferings of withdrawal. [Br. Lit.: Haydn & Fuller, 155]
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In the same diary, he ingenuously presaged the dreamy, inward focus on the haunted self that years later would make Confessions of an English Opium Eater a tour de force:
The effects of laudanum were well described in Thomas De Quincey's classic work Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821)
THOMAS DE QUINCEY BEGINS HIS CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM Eater by identifying himself as an English writer with English Feelings.
This was his gambit in Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Coleridge's in parts of the Biographia Literaria.
Writing of his drug addiction in 1821, the English essayist Thomas De Quincy -- author of the classic Confessions of an English Opium Eater -- noted that he had fallen into the vice during a wet Sunday afternoon in London `and there is no prospect more bleak than a wet Sunday afternoon in London'.
The book begins with an analysis of the threatened female in Ann Radcliffe's The Italian and then explores the same trope in Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, where threatened femininity characterizes Englishmen too, and ultimately England itself.
4) Addiction as unspeakable and unrecognizable difference becomes inscribed as well in 'Gothicized' texts such as The Rime, whose titular character finds himself 'alone on a wide wide sea' even after returning to his homeland; Confessions of an English Opium Eater, where the opium-eating Malay who visits De Quincey at Dove Cottage becomes an emblem of irreducible, addicted Otherness; and Lamb's 'Confessions of a Drunkard', which proclaims the monstrous Otherness of the addicted body.
One example from De Quincey's revised Confessions of an English Opium Eater can quickly illustrate this shift from an interpersonal to a national context.
Whereas some writers, such as Thomas Carlyle, launched their careers this way, but went on to produce a number of famous books, De Quincey continued to write for the journals until the end, and was always known as "the author of the Confessions of an English Opium Eater," the only book for which he was widely known.
The best account of this period in De Quincey's life can be found in his Confessions of an English Opium Eater.