WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HOWARD MARKS
Once upon a time, opium (the main ingredient of heroin) was easily available over the chemist's counter. The secret of happiness, about which philosophers have disputed for so many ages, could be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket: portable ecstasies could be corked up in a pint bottle. Paradise? So thought Thomas de Quincey, but he soon discovered that 'nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium'.
Among the best essayists of the romantic era… De Quincey may be viewed as a proto-Burroughs, as well as a British cousin to Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire, he might with a stretch even be seen as an ancestor of the J.G. Ballard...turn immediately to this excellent, detailed and often harrowing biography
Thomas de Quincey was the original cosmonaut of inner space, his Confessions of an English Opium Eater predating the wave of drug buddy literature from William Burroughs to Irvine Welsh by half a century or more
A stimulating cocktail: exotic dream-sequences conjured up in baroque prosepoetry, camp Gothic effects worthy of Hammer Horror, classical quotations, London street-slang and sprawling footnotes on German philosophy. De Quincey served up this heady concoction of high-culture and low-life in all of his finest writings... At his best, however, he is one of the finest English prose stylists for sheer variety and opiumtinted vividness
The first - and still is the finest - literary dope fiend
It is one of the classics of 19th-century life writing and its influence is still felt