Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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By De Quincey, published 1822(enlarged version 1856).

De Quincey's study of his own opium addiction and its psychological effects traces how childhood and youthful experiences are transformed under the influence of opium, into symbolical and revealing dreams. The central experience for subsequent dream‐formations was his childhood loss of his sister, duplicated by the disappearance of the 15‐year‐old prostitute Ann, who befriended him during his months of homeless near‐starvation in London. The euphoric reveries of the early stages of his addiction and the appalling nightmares of the later stages are described in sonorous and haunting prose.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas De Quincey (1785—1859) essayist

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