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Confessions of an English Opium Eater (original 1821; edition 2003)

by Thomas De Quincey (Author)

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620823,307 (3.43)13
Member:LauraM77
Title:Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Authors:Thomas De Quincey (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: Revised edition, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey (1821)

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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This is a great advertisement for opium, in that De Quincey starts out being the former public school acquaintance hitting you up for a kid and trying to entertain for his (opium) supper with louche tales of WHERE HE'S BEEN, but is kind of too affected and up his own ass to get off the ground--but then he gets on to telling you what it's like to be an "eater" and the whole thing just takes flight. That kind of enthusiasm for your subject matter you just can't fake. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jul 16, 2018 |
"...here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered; happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat-pocket; portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint-bottle; and peace of mind could be sent down by the mail."

My favourite sentence of the book.

I pecked at this one, bored by most of it. Though, it was thrilling to find my home so unchanged-- Hounslow is still scary; most druggists are quite helpful and London can drive you to addiction. ( )
  allyshaw | Apr 4, 2013 |
"First published in 1821, it paved the way for later generations of literary drug users, from Baudelaire to Burroughs." Whee!

While this is maybe not indispensable, it's also not more than 100 pages, so it gets five stars based on its ratio of awesomeness vs. time commitment. And it is pretty awesome. De Quincey is funny and weird and literate, and the roots of all kinds of drug stories - from those quoted above to Trainspotting and, oh, A Million Little Pieces - are clearly visible.

In one of those proud yet crushing moments where you realize that thought you were so psyched about of has, as Public Enemy said, been thought before: I've always thought that people get more honest when they drink, so if that nice new friend of yours gets weirdly mean and creepy when he's drunk, you might want to think twice about inviting him to your wedding. And here's de Quincey: "Most men are disguised by sobriety; and it is when they are drinking that men display themselves in their true complexion of character."

That's from page 46, in the middle of an absolutely glorious comparison of the effects of wine and opium. One of my favorite passages because, unlike opium, I'm quite familiar with the effects of wine. "The pleasure of wine is always mounting, and tending to a crisis, after which it declines." Really, there's no sense quoting more of it; the whole two pages is great.

If you're interested in drugs, or wine, or the idea of a counter culture, or pretty writing, or the history of opium and its significant effect on the world, this is worth an afternoon. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is as much a treat for the prose style as it is for the hallucinatory detail.

The edition I received from the library (dating from the 1890s!) is in two parts. The first is the 'Confessions' as shown in the title, and is split into three further parts - a biographical sketch of the author's life, and The Pleasures and Pains of Opium, respectively. His descriptions are long-winded and evocative. Time and space slow down, and he felt lifted up to a supreme pleasure, where all pain was gone.

Then once the drug wears off, you spend all night wishing you want to die and your body rebels against you. But I'll let de Quincey describe that better.

The second part of the book is called Suspiria de Profundis, or 'Sighs from the Depths'. This is a fragmentary, yet brilliant series of descriptions on the hallucinations he saw and heard while under the influence. Roman goddesses, sunken cities, German mountaintops, human memory, and so forth. A dark fragmented phantasm.

Don't do drugs kids! Opium was perfectly legal when the author took it, and all of its cousins - like heroin - are still too dangerous. Unless you're Vollmann, who can shrug off cocaine like the rest of us drink coffee (so I hear). But you're not. Seriously, don't do it. I beg you. It'll wreck us lesser mortals and shatter our minds and mortal bodies. Don't even do it for the chance that you'll produce some real neat art for it. It's not worth it. The good creativity and emotion will fade away into a broken memory soon enough and all that's left of you is dying. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A descrição de trinta anos de vício em ópio - o narrador chegou mesmo ao ponto de comê-lo - originalmente publicado na Inglaterra vitoriana.
Excelente estilo. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas de Quinceyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barocas, RenataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donini, FilippoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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includes essays "Suspiria de Profundis" and "The English Mail-Coach;" please do not combine with editions containing other combinations of essays or with "Confessions..." alone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140439013, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:58 -0400)

Determined to counter the lies about opium that had been told by travellers to the Orient and the medical profession, De Quincey describes his addiction, the consciousness altering properties of the drugs, its pleasures and its pains.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140439013, 0141194944

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