Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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9781449954277: Confessions of an English Opium Eater

In "Confessions of an English Opium Eater," 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, "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" paved the way for later generations of literary drug users, from Baudelaire to Burroughs, and anticipated psychoanalysis with its insights into the subconscious. De Quincey's remarkable autobiography tells of the marvelous stimulus to creativity and pleasure that opium can initially provide to those who become enmeshed in her dark empire, as well as the chilling aftermath -- the pathetic fear and trembling that inevitably follow from addiction. At his peak usage, De Quincey was doing around 80 teaspoons per day of an opium tincture which was sold over-the-counter as medicine in neighborhood drug stores in those days. "Confessions of an English Opium Eater," which was written at the start of De Quincey's addiction, could be read as a warning about what might happen with legalization. De Quincey, who relapsed three times after trying to "clean himself up" and "go straight," also gives an account of his withdrawal symptoms and the use of valerian for relief.

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Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859) was an English author and intellectual, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821).

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