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The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey by Robert Morrison
  

The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey

Biography / Autobiography   All Shortlists and Winners   

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Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography 2010.

Thomas de Quincey’s life was full and fascinating. Among his friends he counted Wordsworth and Coleridge, he immersed himself in the literary world and he influenced writers from Charles Dickens to William Burroughs. A thoroughly enjoyable biography.

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Synopsis

The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey by Robert Morrison

Author of the famous and semi-scandalous CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER, Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) has long lacked a fully fledged biography. His friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods - including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle - have long placed him at the centre of 19th-century literary studies. De Quincey also stands at the meeting point in the culture wars between Edinburgh and London; between high art and popular taste; and between the devotees of the Romantic imagination and those of hack journalism. He was a man who engaged with nearly every facet of literary culture, including the roles played by publishers, booksellers and journalists in literary production, dissemination and evaluation. His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, William Burroughs and Peter Ackroyd. De Quincey is a fascinating (and topical) figure for other reasons too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison's biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected essayist, critic and biographer.

Reviews

Robert Morrison's biography is astute and revealing, quarrying new sources. -- JOHN CAREY, SUNDAY TIMES

I knew that I was on to a good thing with this book before the page numbers were even out of roman numerals... This was a lively life, and this is a lively Life... - SAM LEITH, THE SPECTATOR

Morrison writes... with a combination of perspicacity and generous puzzlement... Thanks to Morrison... the life is clearer than it has ever been. - JAMES PURDON, THE OBSERVER - 6.12.09

'Robert Morrison's biography is impressive, the first biography of De Quincey in almost thirty years, and the first to use all his published and unpublished works.'- TOM PAULIN, THE LITERARY REVIEW

'The time was ripe for a new biography and Morrison has done his man proud. This is an exceptionally well-balanced account.' - JONATHAN BATE - BOOK OF THE WEEK, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

About the Author

Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison is recognised as a world-class scholar of Romantic and Victorian literature. He is the editor of the OUP edition of De Quincey's essays 'On Murder' and co-editor of a collection of new essays on De Quincey (Routledge).

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Book Info

Publication date

26th November 2009

Author

Robert Morrison

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Author's Website

rdmorrison.com/

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Publisher

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Hardback
488 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners

Biography: literary
Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900

ISBN

9780297852797

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