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If you are choosing between several editions of the -Opium Eater-, this one is the one you want.
True, it does not have Alethea Hayter's introduction, like the Penguin edition has; that being a point in that one's favour. But here you -also- get the entire -Suspiria de Profundis-, which is in many ways more beautiful and interesting than the Opium Eater itself. -Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow- must surely be the single greatest prose poem ever written in English.
The -Suspiria- was intended as a sequel to the -Opium Eater-, and those who enjoy the one will want them both.
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I found this book extremely heavy going. It is a recognized Classic, and many praise the marvels of DeQuincey's highly metaphorical language. But I felt myself laboring to get from one page to the next. There are interesting parts in the story of his early years and especially in his time on the streets of London. There are a few incredible passages one which I found especially interesting. This comes in his describing the effect Opium has on him.
"The sense of space, and in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c. were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to conceive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night; nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience."
This kind of 'mind expansion' so promoted by the psychedelic of the sixties is in my judgment not a path to deeper truth, but rather to hallucination. This work apparently inspired many to take drugs, with very varied results. For me the revelations of such experiments are not great truth but rather self- delusion.