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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
London: Taylor and Hessey, 1822. First edition. [iii]-vi, 206 pp., lacking half-title and ads. 1 vols. 12mo. Contemporary half calf and marbled boards, red morocco spine label. Joints rubbed and starting, some light staining to text. Armorial bookplate of John Charrington. First edition. [iii]-vi, 206 pp., lacking half-title and ads. 1 vols. 12mo. The Classic of Opium Addiction. First edition of De Quincey's classic, the author's first book. "Thomas De Quincey began using opium in 1802 and continued to use it on and off, passing through no less than four opium crises, during the course of his life … From the very first the impact of the Confessions has been virtually incalculable. A genre of literature was at once established that stands to this day: the drug confession. Every writer of drug literature has paid his respects to De Quincey; and of course two of France's greatest poets Musset and Baudelaire, translated Confessions. Its literary quality has also caused De Quincey's first work to be placed in the top rank of English literature; its scientific precision has brought it to the attention of physicians and medical historians. The Confessions is among the classic works of English Romanticism, and yet it was decades before its author would dare put his name upon the title-page" (Horowitz). Confessions is divided into three parts: the first describes De Quincey's youth in Wales and London; the second, his first pleasurable experiments with opium use; and the third, a journal of nightmares and visions, now thought to have been brought on by withdrawal. De Quincey would expand the work to nearly twice its original length for his 1856 Collected Works - though the author privately confessed that the expanded edition lost the immediacy and force of the original. Bound-up copies often lack the half-title and are found with a variety of ad leaves: "it was a matter of pure chance whether [Opium-Eater] was boarded up with one, two, four or eight leaves, or none at all" (Carter, Taste & Technique, p. 104). Green 354; Horowitz, Phantastica 57; Tinker 817; Norman 619
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2016-11-10           Check availability:      Biblio    


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