Chapter

Opium-Eaters: The Addict, the Imperialist, and the Autobiographer

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/9780198112853.003.0007
Opium-Eaters: The Addict, the Imperialist, and the Autobiographer

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The various essays on murder drew more attention to the murderer's social functions rather than focusing on the victim and the victim's thoughts before he or she is killed. In De Quincey's ‘On the Knocking on the Gate in Macbeth’, this moment of uncertainty and terror is found to be one of the major constructions of a work of art. In his notion of sudden death, De Quincey emphasizes the point of suspended time wherein the ‘luxury of ruin’ wallows. The images of death expressed in ‘The English Mail Coach’ illustrate how the subject of De Quincey's best works may rely on his imminent death and his lost potency. In this chapter, we look into the aesthetic of force: a representation that opposes how culture and society experience disempowerment.

Keywords: murder; lost potency; death; force; representation; disempowerment

Chapter.  13203 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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