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Far from it. It also contains manuscript material relating to all three works, and a large quantity of excellent notes. In the Confessions , De Quincey recounts his experiences with Opium, and in Suspiria he explores his childhood. He has a large fascination with dreams and dreaming, and this interest is well woven through both of these works. De Quincey's style is rich and powerful, and the works are well peppered with amusing anecdotes and spurts of humour.

The Confessions is very entertaining, I enjoyed Suspiria arguably more, and I would recommend both purely on the quality of De Quincey's writing. But unfortunately, even this could not not get me through the entirety of The English Mail-Coach. I say by inhaling this potent tincture, you will be safely sated; but do take care the olfactive seduction does not entice you to seek out the pleasures of the illicit flower.

Wine robs a man of his self-possession; opium greatly invigorates it. Wine unsettles and clouds the judgement, and gives a preternatural brightness and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the admirations, the loves and the hatreds of the drinker; opium, on the contrary, communicates serenity and equipoise to all the faculties, active or passive, and with respect to the temper and moral feelings in general it gives simply that sort of vital warmth which is approved by the judgment, and which would probably always accompany a bodily constitution of primeval or antediluvian health.

For music is an intellectual or a sensual pleasure, according to the temperament of him who hears it. For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally of coarse nerves, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual. People in general either read poetry without any passion at all, or else overstep the modesty of nature, and read not like scholars. The sublimer and more passionate poets I still read, as I have said, by snatches, and occasionally. But my proper vocation, as I well know, was the exercise of the analytic understanding.

Now, for the most part, analytic studies are continuous, and not to be pursued by fits and starts, or fragmentary efforts. I had been in youth, and even since, for occasional amusement, a great reader of Livy, whom I confess that I prefer, both for style and matter, to any other of the Roman historians. I set off on foot, carrying a small parcel with some articles of dress under my arm; a favourite English poet in one pocket, and a small 12mo volume, containing about nine plays of Euripides, in the other.

Of these I have about five thousand, collected gradually since my eighteenth year. The case was this:—It happened that I had now, and commencing with my first introduction to Latin studies, a large weekly allowance of pocket-money, too large for my age, but safely intrusted to myself, who never spent or desired to spend one fraction of it upon anything but books.

But all proved too little for my colossal schemes. Very soon I had run ahead of my allowance, and was about three guineas deep in debt. No man ever will unfold the capacities of his own intellect who does not at least checker his life with solitude. How much solitude, so much power. Whatsoever in a man's mind blossoms as expands to his own consciousness in mature life, must have pre-existed in germ during his infancy.

Note That a girl it was who had crowned the earth with beauty, and had opened to my thirst fountains of pure celestial love, from which, in this world, I was to drink no more. View all 15 comments. It seems that De Quincey started taking laudanum in order to relieve a stomach condition. The drug did not affect him negatively at first; quite on the contrary, since it improved the acuteness of his senses and uplifted his spirits. In the end, De Quincey was haunted by horrible nightmares. The ending, with the account of what took place in his hallucinations and dreams, under the influence of the drug, is perhaps the most interesting part.

View all 4 comments. I feel no shame, nor have any reason to feel it, in avowing that i was then on familiar and friendly terms with many women in that unfortunate condition. So I lo-ove drug literature, and I admire de Quincey for pretty much inventing the genre, but his style is not my style. He's unbearably wordsy, by which I mean he takes the long route to get a thought across, and it's not really scenic enough to merit it.

For the right audience this will be an interesting read. For me there was not enough about what brought me to this book. The style is too much of its time, although not as evasive and overloaded as some writing of this century.

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater & Other Writings

De Quincey may have, with this book invented addiction literature and in so doing been an early example of qualitati For the right audience this will be an interesting read. De Quincey may have, with this book invented addiction literature and in so doing been an early example of qualitative research and objective analysis of specifically opium addiction.

He comes across as more humane and realistic in his appreciation of, for example why otherwise good women are driven to become prostitutes. This at a time when the expected thing was to write such women off as degraded. I get why others liked it more than I. I do not dislike it and that is the best I can post. This book is a partial autobiography giving the authors background as a good if headstrong student.

Against advice he leaves school at 17 and breaks with his father. Taking work where and as he can; he nearly starves to death in London. Here he befriends a young prostitute and between them eke out a minimal survival. Ultimately he returns to his father and to something of a comfortable life as a scholar. Exactly why we needed to hear about his near starvation is uncertain, but he gives us some topics to consider besides his main one, that of being an addict. Remember, this is about his experience as an addict? We are well into the book and he has yet to meet up with opium. It is while suffering from a tooth ache a friend of his introduces him to opium.

The narrative breaks into roughly three parts as he walks us through his experience with opium. The early period, when he thinks he has consumption under his control and the effects are pleasant, even exhilarating. This part is important as it answers the question about why a person would begin down this path. Next he will describe what happened to him as the drug strips from him what he believed to have been his control.

It is unclear how much of this testimony is valid, but absent a lot more research into addiction; De Quincey can be forgiven for relating only what he has determined to have been his experience. Throughout his conceit is that his experience is likely to be universal and therefore especially instructive. There was in his day little or nothing for him or anyone else to compare with and judge his testimony to be anything other than what he suggests.

The visions that had so much elevated his senses and awareness of the world become nightmares beyond his control, even as his continued consumption is not within his control. The last part is about his efforts to regain control of his consumption and at least come close to a total abstinence. My problem is that it reads more like a performance.

One can almost hear the hat being passed at some kind of fund raiser. The author to be the beneficiary. Forgivable is the presumption that his experience is universal and that what worked for or against him is the right approach for others. He is convinced that one can avoid addiction by counting the usage in drops, staying below a fixed amount.

That seemed to work for him except that ultimately he became a victim of his drug usage. Mostly I objected to the pages spent on topics not related to his usage. There are pages of elaborate images. There are reasonable because in him the drug stimulated visions, but there are other pages of him describing life with and without his drug as being like some county cabin. It was in these moment I most felt like I was listening to a fund raiser rather than insightful self-analysis. View 2 comments. I never thought a memoir about doing drugs could be this dull. There are some interesting aspects, like de Quincy describing what being high is like, but without the language of describing 'highs' that we have today.

It makes it harder to penetrate but more interesting in some ways. It's like de Quincy showing drug addiction in a realistic way, as opposed to drug narratives that go from everything's bad to every I never thought a memoir about doing drugs could be this dull. It's like de Quincy showing drug addiction in a realistic way, as opposed to drug narratives that go from everything's bad to everything's good. Overall though, reading this book is so dull. The first section especially is like pulling teeth.

Jul 29, Yair Ben-Zvi rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Intolerably tough to read but a force worth going through. De Quincy was a xenophobe, drug addict, racist, imperialist, etc etc. But his writing is, hyperbole aside, incredible. He digresses, stops and starts tangents, and sometimes actually often ends stories with absolutely no resolution. Like post-modern even before modernism. Not easy but definitely great reading. A strangely wonderful book, that is, at the same time wonderfully strange!! Into this you may put a quart of ruby-coloured laudanum: that, and a book of German metaphysics placed by its side, will sufficiently attest my being in the neighbourhood.

So I'm a fan of the annoying little comma-loving twerp. He lived in a different time. He has a supremely identifiable and glorious dramatic voice in his text, and I'd say it's fairly resonant, as evidence "Paint the real receptable, which was not of gold, but of glass, and as much like a wine-decanter as possible. He has a supremely identifiable and glorious dramatic voice in his text, and I'd say it's fairly resonant, as evidenced by the immense number of underlining that took place during the reading.

I felt very mixed about this one. Whilst the first book in the collection that being 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater was very interesting and readable, the other two were complete crap. It isn't that they aren't just completely unreadable by today's standards, it's just that De Quincy needs to get over himself.

His dreams are boring, his life uninteresting and he comes across as a posh pompous twit. Why these works are viewed as classics is beyond me. Just because you are friends with the I felt very mixed about this one. Just because you are friends with the as equally overrated William Wordsworth doesn't make you a great author by osmosis. Find something else to read that is more interesting, like the back of a cereal box. Feb 24, Guy Portman rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , classics. At the age of eighteen De Quincey moves to London, where he exists in a near destitute state, surviving on borrowed money.

An illness results in a doctor prescribing the author laudanum, which contains opium. De Quincey starts using the drug regularly, culminating in addiction. The section of the book approx. Later De Quincey, who infers that it was his early experiences that led to his use of the drug, attempts to reduce his opium intake. This reader would compare reading Confessions of an English Opium-Eater to struggling through sinking mud. For despite the fact that there are a mere pages, some interesting historical insights, details of opium-fuelled dreams, in addition to an ornate, almost poetic prose style, no doubt the influence of Wordsworth of whom the author was an ardent devotee, toiling through the book was extremely arduous.

This was due to the turgid blocks of text devoid of paragraphs, the unremitting references to classical studies and literature, the tedious footnotes, grandiloquent use of language c. This reader would strongly recommend that anyone enticed by the prospect of this, the forefather of addiction literature, read the original version, and not make his mistake of wading through the considerably expanded edition.

Mar 17, Tom Meade added it Shelves: fantasy , biography , socio-historical-enquiry , weird. Finished the Opium Confessions. The information is interesting, but mostly of that vague, generalist sort that could only have been considered useful in the early 19th century. The writing, however, is superb - an over-sexed mezzanine of verbiage - with any number of scenes and incidents that stick with you long after you've closed the book. The dreams in particular, though quite short, are striking in the power of their imagery.

The book could have done with a few more freak-outs, to be honest. True of most things, I suppose. Have read a bit of Suspiria de Profundis. De Quincey seems to have gotten a hold on some of his wilder linguistic impulses, directing them with a bit more power and foresight. I'm pretty excited to find-out just how much of this stuff Dario Argento took to heart. De Quincey is, admittedly, witty, and I can see his personality affecting his work. However, this is where my admiration stops. It was, to put it bluntly, painful to read, though that may have been due to the lack of chapters or any kind of coherent organisation.

And while I can understand why De Quincey organised his own thoughts like this, to create a realistic stream of conciousness unsurprising considering the subject matter , I personally simply found it daunting and stifled. I will re-read De Quincey is, admittedly, witty, and I can see his personality affecting his work. I will re-read it once I have finished the module for which I read it, but I don't hold much hope of it having a greater effect on me.

While there are several entertaining anecdotes that Thomas De Quincey relates in the works contained in this compilation, I can't get over the fact that following his purpose us difficult at best. Thus, whi While there are several entertaining anecdotes that Thomas De Quincey relates in the works contained in this compilation, I can't get over the fact that following his purpose us difficult at best. Thus, while at times his writing is entertaining, it meanders.

Also, I feel much if what De Quincey has to say is a bit arrogant, further reducing my enjoyment of his writing. Maybe I'm just not into 19th century writing but I found the eponymous essay interesting but ultimately meandering and somewhat bland. Actually I quite liked it until he got to the dreams segment, and then I pretty much lost all interest. I guess the saying about dreams only being interesting to the dreamer is true even for Thomas de Quicey. Jun 10, Raissa rated it did not like it.

I have owned this book in hardcover for years, and I tried to read it recently. I made it through, perhaps, the first 15 pages. De Quincey is so pompous and assinine in the introductory pages that I gave up in absolute disgust. If anyone has finished it and wants to assure me that it is worth reading, please comment. Otherwise, I will continue to get my vicarious opium fix by watching Johnny Depp chase the dragon in From Hell. Nov 04, Sean rated it liked it. This has long been on my "want to read list" and is finally done.

My edition is not available to select on Goodreads and i read only the "confessions" part of his writing; hence the quick turn-around. De Quincey expresses himself well and paints an interesting picture of early 19th Century London. He has some great turns of phrase - "the tyranny of the majority" stays in mind - but the actual confessions are a disappointment. He quite enjoys opium for 8 years with no detriment, experiences some This has long been on my "want to read list" and is finally done.

He quite enjoys opium for 8 years with no detriment, experiences some bad years and then weans himself off. The end. Nov 06, Kara rated it liked it. Aug 31, Alinder rated it it was ok. Too much work to read with little return for the effort. Dec 26, William Sandles rated it liked it. It also contains manuscript material relating to all three works, and a large quantity of excellent notes. In the Confessions , De Quincey recounts his experiences with Opium, and in Suspiria he explores his childhood. He has a large fascination with dreams and dreaming, and this interest is well woven through both of these works.

De Quincey's style is rich and powerful, and the works are well peppered with amusing anecdotes and spurts of humour. The Confessions is very entertaining, I enjoyed Suspiria arguably more, and I would recommend both purely on the quality of De Quincey's writing. But unfortunately, even this could not not get me through the entirety of The English Mail-Coach. I say by inhaling this potent tincture, you will be safely sated; but do take care the olfactive seduction does not entice you to seek out the pleasures of the illicit flower.

Wine robs a man of his self-possession; opium greatly invigorates it. Wine unsettles and clouds the judgement, and gives a preternatural brightness and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the admirations, the loves and the hatreds of the drinker; opium, on the contrary, communicates serenity and equipoise to all the faculties, active or passive, and with respect to the temper and moral feelings in general it gives simply that sort of vital warmth which is approved by the judgment, and which would probably always accompany a bodily constitution of primeval or antediluvian health.


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For music is an intellectual or a sensual pleasure, according to the temperament of him who hears it. For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally of coarse nerves, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual. People in general either read poetry without any passion at all, or else overstep the modesty of nature, and read not like scholars. The sublimer and more passionate poets I still read, as I have said, by snatches, and occasionally.

But my proper vocation, as I well know, was the exercise of the analytic understanding. Now, for the most part, analytic studies are continuous, and not to be pursued by fits and starts, or fragmentary efforts. I had been in youth, and even since, for occasional amusement, a great reader of Livy, whom I confess that I prefer, both for style and matter, to any other of the Roman historians. I set off on foot, carrying a small parcel with some articles of dress under my arm; a favourite English poet in one pocket, and a small 12mo volume, containing about nine plays of Euripides, in the other.

Of these I have about five thousand, collected gradually since my eighteenth year.

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The case was this:—It happened that I had now, and commencing with my first introduction to Latin studies, a large weekly allowance of pocket-money, too large for my age, but safely intrusted to myself, who never spent or desired to spend one fraction of it upon anything but books.

But all proved too little for my colossal schemes. Very soon I had run ahead of my allowance, and was about three guineas deep in debt. No man ever will unfold the capacities of his own intellect who does not at least checker his life with solitude. How much solitude, so much power. Whatsoever in a man's mind blossoms as expands to his own consciousness in mature life, must have pre-existed in germ during his infancy.

Note That a girl it was who had crowned the earth with beauty, and had opened to my thirst fountains of pure celestial love, from which, in this world, I was to drink no more. View all 15 comments. It seems that De Quincey started taking laudanum in order to relieve a stomach condition. The drug did not affect him negatively at first; quite on the contrary, since it improved the acuteness of his senses and uplifted his spirits. In the end, De Quincey was haunted by horrible nightmares.

The ending, with the account of what took place in his hallucinations and dreams, under the influence of the drug, is perhaps the most interesting part. View all 4 comments. I feel no shame, nor have any reason to feel it, in avowing that i was then on familiar and friendly terms with many women in that unfortunate condition.

So I lo-ove drug literature, and I admire de Quincey for pretty much inventing the genre, but his style is not my style. He's unbearably wordsy, by which I mean he takes the long route to get a thought across, and it's not really scenic enough to merit it. For the right audience this will be an interesting read. For me there was not enough about what brought me to this book. The style is too much of its time, although not as evasive and overloaded as some writing of this century. De Quincey may have, with this book invented addiction literature and in so doing been an early example of qualitati For the right audience this will be an interesting read.

De Quincey may have, with this book invented addiction literature and in so doing been an early example of qualitative research and objective analysis of specifically opium addiction. He comes across as more humane and realistic in his appreciation of, for example why otherwise good women are driven to become prostitutes. This at a time when the expected thing was to write such women off as degraded.

I get why others liked it more than I. I do not dislike it and that is the best I can post. This book is a partial autobiography giving the authors background as a good if headstrong student. Against advice he leaves school at 17 and breaks with his father. Taking work where and as he can; he nearly starves to death in London. Here he befriends a young prostitute and between them eke out a minimal survival. Ultimately he returns to his father and to something of a comfortable life as a scholar.

Exactly why we needed to hear about his near starvation is uncertain, but he gives us some topics to consider besides his main one, that of being an addict. Remember, this is about his experience as an addict? We are well into the book and he has yet to meet up with opium. It is while suffering from a tooth ache a friend of his introduces him to opium. The narrative breaks into roughly three parts as he walks us through his experience with opium.

The early period, when he thinks he has consumption under his control and the effects are pleasant, even exhilarating. This part is important as it answers the question about why a person would begin down this path. Next he will describe what happened to him as the drug strips from him what he believed to have been his control. It is unclear how much of this testimony is valid, but absent a lot more research into addiction; De Quincey can be forgiven for relating only what he has determined to have been his experience.

Throughout his conceit is that his experience is likely to be universal and therefore especially instructive. There was in his day little or nothing for him or anyone else to compare with and judge his testimony to be anything other than what he suggests. The visions that had so much elevated his senses and awareness of the world become nightmares beyond his control, even as his continued consumption is not within his control.

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater & Other Writings by Thomas de Quincey

The last part is about his efforts to regain control of his consumption and at least come close to a total abstinence. My problem is that it reads more like a performance. One can almost hear the hat being passed at some kind of fund raiser. The author to be the beneficiary. Forgivable is the presumption that his experience is universal and that what worked for or against him is the right approach for others. He is convinced that one can avoid addiction by counting the usage in drops, staying below a fixed amount.

That seemed to work for him except that ultimately he became a victim of his drug usage. Mostly I objected to the pages spent on topics not related to his usage. There are pages of elaborate images. There are reasonable because in him the drug stimulated visions, but there are other pages of him describing life with and without his drug as being like some county cabin. It was in these moment I most felt like I was listening to a fund raiser rather than insightful self-analysis.

View 2 comments. I never thought a memoir about doing drugs could be this dull. There are some interesting aspects, like de Quincy describing what being high is like, but without the language of describing 'highs' that we have today. It makes it harder to penetrate but more interesting in some ways. It's like de Quincy showing drug addiction in a realistic way, as opposed to drug narratives that go from everything's bad to every I never thought a memoir about doing drugs could be this dull. It's like de Quincy showing drug addiction in a realistic way, as opposed to drug narratives that go from everything's bad to everything's good.

Overall though, reading this book is so dull. The first section especially is like pulling teeth. Jul 29, Yair Ben-Zvi rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Intolerably tough to read but a force worth going through. De Quincy was a xenophobe, drug addict, racist, imperialist, etc etc.

But his writing is, hyperbole aside, incredible. He digresses, stops and starts tangents, and sometimes actually often ends stories with absolutely no resolution. Like post-modern even before modernism. Not easy but definitely great reading. A strangely wonderful book, that is, at the same time wonderfully strange!! Into this you may put a quart of ruby-coloured laudanum: that, and a book of German metaphysics placed by its side, will sufficiently attest my being in the neighbourhood.

So I'm a fan of the annoying little comma-loving twerp.


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He lived in a different time. He has a supremely identifiable and glorious dramatic voice in his text, and I'd say it's fairly resonant, as evidence "Paint the real receptable, which was not of gold, but of glass, and as much like a wine-decanter as possible.

He has a supremely identifiable and glorious dramatic voice in his text, and I'd say it's fairly resonant, as evidenced by the immense number of underlining that took place during the reading. I felt very mixed about this one. Whilst the first book in the collection that being 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater was very interesting and readable, the other two were complete crap.

It isn't that they aren't just completely unreadable by today's standards, it's just that De Quincy needs to get over himself. His dreams are boring, his life uninteresting and he comes across as a posh pompous twit. Why these works are viewed as classics is beyond me. Just because you are friends with the I felt very mixed about this one. Just because you are friends with the as equally overrated William Wordsworth doesn't make you a great author by osmosis. Find something else to read that is more interesting, like the back of a cereal box.

Feb 24, Guy Portman rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , classics. At the age of eighteen De Quincey moves to London, where he exists in a near destitute state, surviving on borrowed money. An illness results in a doctor prescribing the author laudanum, which contains opium. De Quincey starts using the drug regularly, culminating in addiction.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey

The section of the book approx. Later De Quincey, who infers that it was his early experiences that led to his use of the drug, attempts to reduce his opium intake. This reader would compare reading Confessions of an English Opium-Eater to struggling through sinking mud. For despite the fact that there are a mere pages, some interesting historical insights, details of opium-fuelled dreams, in addition to an ornate, almost poetic prose style, no doubt the influence of Wordsworth of whom the author was an ardent devotee, toiling through the book was extremely arduous.

This was due to the turgid blocks of text devoid of paragraphs, the unremitting references to classical studies and literature, the tedious footnotes, grandiloquent use of language c. This reader would strongly recommend that anyone enticed by the prospect of this, the forefather of addiction literature, read the original version, and not make his mistake of wading through the considerably expanded edition. Mar 17, Tom Meade added it Shelves: fantasy , biography , socio-historical-enquiry , weird. Finished the Opium Confessions.

The information is interesting, but mostly of that vague, generalist sort that could only have been considered useful in the early 19th century. The writing, however, is superb - an over-sexed mezzanine of verbiage - with any number of scenes and incidents that stick with you long after you've closed the book. The dreams in particular, though quite short, are striking in the power of their imagery.

The book could have done with a few more freak-outs, to be honest. True of most things, I suppose. Have read a bit of Suspiria de Profundis. De Quincey seems to have gotten a hold on some of his wilder linguistic impulses, directing them with a bit more power and foresight. I'm pretty excited to find-out just how much of this stuff Dario Argento took to heart. De Quincey is, admittedly, witty, and I can see his personality affecting his work. However, this is where my admiration stops. It was, to put it bluntly, painful to read, though that may have been due to the lack of chapters or any kind of coherent organisation.

And while I can understand why De Quincey organised his own thoughts like this, to create a realistic stream of conciousness unsurprising considering the subject matter , I personally simply found it daunting and stifled. I will re-read De Quincey is, admittedly, witty, and I can see his personality affecting his work. I will re-read it once I have finished the module for which I read it, but I don't hold much hope of it having a greater effect on me.

While there are several entertaining anecdotes that Thomas De Quincey relates in the works contained in this compilation, I can't get over the fact that following his purpose us difficult at best. Thus, whi While there are several entertaining anecdotes that Thomas De Quincey relates in the works contained in this compilation, I can't get over the fact that following his purpose us difficult at best. Thus, while at times his writing is entertaining, it meanders. Also, I feel much if what De Quincey has to say is a bit arrogant, further reducing my enjoyment of his writing.

Maybe I'm just not into 19th century writing but I found the eponymous essay interesting but ultimately meandering and somewhat bland. Actually I quite liked it until he got to the dreams segment, and then I pretty much lost all interest. I guess the saying about dreams only being interesting to the dreamer is true even for Thomas de Quicey.

Jun 10, Raissa rated it did not like it. I have owned this book in hardcover for years, and I tried to read it recently. I made it through, perhaps, the first 15 pages. De Quincey is so pompous and assinine in the introductory pages that I gave up in absolute disgust. If anyone has finished it and wants to assure me that it is worth reading, please comment. Otherwise, I will continue to get my vicarious opium fix by watching Johnny Depp chase the dragon in From Hell.

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Nov 04, Sean rated it liked it. This has long been on my "want to read list" and is finally done. My edition is not available to select on Goodreads and i read only the "confessions" part of his writing; hence the quick turn-around. De Quincey expresses himself well and paints an interesting picture of early 19th Century London. He has some great turns of phrase - "the tyranny of the majority" stays in mind - but the actual confessions are a disappointment.

He quite enjoys opium for 8 years with no detriment, experiences some This has long been on my "want to read list" and is finally done. He quite enjoys opium for 8 years with no detriment, experiences some bad years and then weans himself off. The end. Nov 06, Kara rated it liked it. Aug 31, Alinder rated it it was ok.

Too much work to read with little return for the effort. Dec 26, William Sandles rated it liked it. DeQuincey the man is maybe more fascinating then De Quincey the writer.