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June 08 , 2011

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater


When it was first published anonymously in the October 1821 edition of the London Magazine, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater was a literary sensation. The author of this shocking autobiographical record of addiction, spun in a rich literary style, was Thomas De Quincey, a close associate of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Confessions went through many printings and made De Quincey famous. Often pointed to as the first narcotics memoir, Confessions anticipated the new sub-genre of addiction literature that would flourish in the second half of the twentieth century and was an immediate influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Charles Baudelaire and Nikolai Gogol. It was also the inspiration for Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater' (1821) is an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum (opium and alcohol) addiction and its effect on his life. The 'Confessions' was the first major work De Quincey published and the one which won him fame almost overnight.

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is both a classic of the English autobiographical genre and a harrowing study of addiction.  

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