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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $15.50

384 pp.
129 mm x 196 mm


Publication date:
March 2013

Imprint: OUP UK

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings

Thomas De Quincey
Edited by Robert Morrison

Series : Oxford World's Classics

'I took it: - and in an hour, oh! Heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me!'

Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) launched a fascination with drug use and abuse that has continued from his day to ours. In the Confessions De Quincey invents recreational drug taking, but he also details both the lurid nightmares that beset him in the depths of his addiction as well as his humiliatingly futile attempts to renounce the drug. Suspiria de Profundis centres on the deep afflictions of De Quincey's childhood, and examines the powerful and often paradoxical relationship between drugs and human creativity. In 'The English Mail-Coach', the tragedies of De Quincey's past are played out with horrifying repetitiveness against a backdrop of Britain as a Protestant and an imperial power.

This edition presents De Quincey's finest essays in impassioned autobiography, together with three appendices that are highlighted by a wealth of manuscript material related to the three main texts.

Readership : Readers of nineteenth-century classic literature, essays, and autobiography, and those interested in the literature of addiction and drug abuse; students of Romantic Literature, Victorian Literature, nineteenth-century literature.


  • Review from other book by this author: ''Robert Morrison's biography is astute and revealing, quarrying new sources."

    --John Carey, Sunday Times

  • ''Robert Morrison's biography is impressive, the first biography of De Quincey in almost thirty years, and is the first to use all his published and unpublished works.''

    --Tom Paulin, The Literary Review
  • ''The time was ripe for a new biography and Morrison has done his man proud. This is an exceptionally well-balanced account."

    --Jonathan Bate, Sunday Telegraph

Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Thomas De Quincey
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Suspiria de Profundis
The English Mail-Coach
Appendix A. Manuscript and Other Material relating to Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Appendix B. Manuscript Material relating to Suspiria de Profundis
Appendix C: Manuscript and Other Material relating to 'The English Mail-Coach'
Explanatory Notes

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Robert Morrison is the author of a critically acclaimed biography of De Quincey, The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009). He has edited volumes of De Quincey's complete Works for Pickering and Chatto, and he is the editor of On Murder, a collection of De Quincey's essays 'On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts' and other writings for OWC. He has also co-edited with Chris Baldick Polidori's The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre for OWC.

There are no related titles available at this time.

Special Features

  • A new edition by De Quincey scholar and biographer Robert Morrison of De Quincey's finest autobiographical essays, which describe his early life and opium addiction.
  • The only paperback edition to include manuscript material related to the three main texts as well as other material, including letters and prefaces, in appendices.
  • Introduction considers opium use in the nineteenth century, the confession genre, and the three works in detail, focusing on De Quincey's centrality to his own age and enduring relevance to our own.
  • Extensive chronology of De Quincey's life and the most up-to-date and and thorough bibliography on his autobiographical works.
  • Detailed and comprehensive annotation, including new information and identifications previously unnoticed.
New to this Edition
  • Three appendices containing manuscript material related to the three texts, never before published in paperback.
  • All new editorial material by new editor Robert Morrison: introduction, note on the text, chronology, bibliography, explanatory notes.
  • Newly set text.