The English Opium-Eater

A masterful biography of England's most notorious literary figure.

Author of the scandalous Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) has long lacked a full-fledged biography. His friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods— including William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge—have long placed him at the center of nineteenth century literary studies. His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and William Burroughs.

De Quincey is a topical figure for other reasons, too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison’s biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected icon of English literature.

Robert Morrison is recognized as a world-class scholar of Romantic and Victorian literature. He is the editor of De Quincey's On Murder (Oxford) as well as a collection of critical essays on De Quincey (Routledge). Robert is currently a professor of literature at Queen’s University in Ontario. He lives in Canada.