Title

Introduction to Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

An introduction to the book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings. 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.

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