Chapter

Debt and Desire: The Psychology of Political Economy

Josephine Mcdonagh

in De Quincey's Disciplines

Published in print June 1994 | ISBN: 9780198112853
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670862 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112853.003.0003
Debt and Desire: The Psychology of Political Economy

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The pleasures that opium gave to De Quincey included those of a flâneur, since he would roam the streets regardless of the distances and directions he took to markets and several other parts of London on Saturday nights after taking his dose. In these walks, De Quincey would observe how the poor would resort to bodily toil for wages and even participates in the poor's activities. As he observed, the poor were viewed to be ‘more philosophic than the rich’. To console themselves, addicts and the poor are able to share opium and their forms of consumption with each other. As De Quincey ends up wandering too far off and finds himself in areas that he is not familiar with, he becomes a periodic explorer in which the corresponding psychological terror comprises the ‘Pains of Opium’ in Confessions. Through such experiences, we look into how De Quincey's psychology of political economy was established.

Keywords: flâneur; opium; psychology; poor; political economy

Chapter.  10078 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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