Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER Hardcover – 1900


See all 87 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover, 1900
Paperback
"Please retry"
$31.85
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$2.00
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$4.16

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: David McKay (1900)
  • ASIN: B00D3AT2YO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

An amazing book and one I highly recommend to those who are prepared to read and understand it.
Jeffrey Leach
This over-intellectualism, however, is useful in keeping his opium-related narratives grounded and understandable for the reader who has not had similar experiences.
Siobhan
Heritage/LEC had a lot of fun in developing an intelligent, dignified, and yet evocative design for de Quincey's classic.
Theseus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on November 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thomas De Quincey wrote this account of his life and his struggle with drug addiction to both educate on the evils of opium and also to share the dream trances that he experienced while in the throes of addiction. This version by Penguin presents De Quincey's original version from 1821 and then his revision notes from 1856. There is also a short section of comments that De Quincey made concerning his Confessions from 1821-1855. The introduction by Alethea Hayter is one of the best I've seen in a Penguin book, and it really helps in understanding Thomas De Quincey and his writing style.
The Confessions, in a nutshell, begin by recounting De Quincey's early life and the events that led him to begin taking opium. The rest of the tale deals with his problems with opium and his dreams that came from taking the drug. The original version isn't that long of a read, but his revision notes add considerable length, and for the most part weren't as interesting as the 1821 original.
De Quincey's prose is absolutely amazing. He is one of the most gifted writers I've had the pleasure to read (up to this date). Many times I felt as though I was lifted up by his words and carried directly into his world. I've yet to have as profound an experience with any other author. De Quincey can also be difficult. His grasp of the English language will leave many modern readers scratching their heads. Footnotes and notes by the editor help, but a dictionary will find heavy use during the reading of this book. So those with short attention spans, be forewarned. You won't survive this book. Also, De Quincey received a classical education. He makes heavy use of Greek names, places and other classical references. He even uses Greek words in the text (although notes provide translations).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on November 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thomas De Quincey was a contemporary of Wordsworth and more importantly in terms of comparison, Coleridge. He writes that Coleridge and he met several times and in one instance they perused some Parnesi prints together. Whether on not they were both high at the time, De Quincey doesn't reveal. However, given the tenor of the tangent upon which De Quincey expounds, it is certain that at least he was using, and given Coleridge's history, he probably was a well. Why do I cite this incident? Because it is one of the few points in the narrative that is memorable. As someone interested in literary figures, the image of two 19th century literary hop-heads grooving-out whilst staring at Parnesi prints (you should look up Parnesi on the web - a definite precursor to M.C. Escher)is just plain marvelous.
Unfortunately, that, and a few paragraphs depicting some truly macabre nightmares are the only noteworthy incidents in this book. Too often, De Quicey's labarynthine riffs doen't really lead anywhere. His writing style in some ways can be compared to another of his more illustrious contemporaries, Thomas Carlyle's. Both go in for elongated Latinate constructions, with modifier upon modifier and dependent and independent clauses ad infinitum. Carlyle, however, can pull it off. His great wit and energy of mind holds the center of the thought together, even as the rest of his sentence veers off into Baroque space. De Quincey is not an adept enough magician to perform this trick.

De Quincey's subject is himself. His mode of writing in this instance is primarily that of a diarist. This leads to comparisons with some other English diarists of note. Two that come immediately to mind are Defoe (A Journal of the Plague Year) and Pepys (the most famous of all).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Siobhan on June 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
De Quincey's writings on opium addiction are both fascinating and intensely frustrating. As other reviewers have noted, he has an amazing ability to capture the surreality of his experiences on the drug without losing analytical clarity. However, the reader should be aware that De Quincey spends the majority of his space on other subjects: his childhood, his numerous psychological neuroses, obscure points about Greek literature, etc occupy 3/4 of the narrative, while the bits about opium are interspersed throughout but concentrated heavily toward the end. If you don't enjoy his writing, and are not looking for a more general 19th century romantic autobiography, this makes for a lot of slogging through uninteresting content.

I, at least, find his writing style aggravating in the extreme. De Quincey is wildly self-indulgent: he's supremely impressed by his own intellect and learning, which he tries to demonstrate to the reader at every opportunity. His prose is florid even by Victorian standards.This over-intellectualism, however, is useful in keeping his opium-related narratives grounded and understandable for the reader who has not had similar experiences. I've never found anything quite like this book in tone, and for this reason would recommend it to the reader curious about 19th century opium use or the psychology of drug addiction. Those who really enjoy 18-19th century confessional writings a la Rousseau may enjoy even the parts I found frustrating.

Regardless of your interests in the book, I strongly recommend purchasing a different edition than the Dover Thrift. De Quincey wrote a second, later essay on his opium experience called Suspiria de Profundis that is included in many other copies of Confessions (but not this one).
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?