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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater [Anglais] [Relié]

Thomas de Quincey
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Description de l'ouvrage

1 mars 2003
A masterpiece of autobiography, and perhaps the first literary memoir of an addict, the Penguin Classics edition of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is edited with an introduction by Barry Milligan. Confessions is a remarkable account of the pleasures and pains of worshipping at the 'Church of Opium'. Thomas De Quincey consumed daily large quantities of laudanum (at the time a legal painkiller), and this autobiography of addiction hauntingly describes his surreal visions and hallucinatory nocturnal wanderings through London, along with the nightmares, despair and paranoia to which he became prey. The result is a work in which the effects of drugs and the nature of dreams, memory and imagination are seamlessly interwoven, describing in intimate detail the mind-altering pleasures and pains unique to opium. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater forged a link between artistic self-expression and addiction, paving the way for later generations of literary addicts from Baudelaire to James Frey, and anticipating psychoanalysis with its insights into the subconscious. This edition is based on the original serial version of 1821, and reproduces two 'sequels', 'Suspiria de Profundis' (1845) and 'The English Mail-Coach' (1849). It also includes a critical introduction discussing the romantic figure of the addict and the tradition of confessional literature, and an appendix on opium in the nineteenth century. Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) studied at Oxford, failing to take his degree but discovering opium. He later met Coleridge, Southey and the Wordsworths. From 1828 until his death he lived in Edinburgh and made his living from journalism. If you enjoyed Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, you might like William S. Burroughs' Junky, available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'De Quincey was one of the first great autobiographers'Jonathan Bate
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Biographie de l'auteur

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) studied at Oxford, failing to take his degree but discovering opium. He later met Coleridge, Southey and the Wordsworths. From 1828 until his death he lived in Edinburgh and made his living from journalism. Barry Milligan is Professor of English at Wright State University and author of Pleasures and Pains (Virginia UP, 1995). --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 120 pages
  • Editeur : (1 mars 2003)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 140434568X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1404345683
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,9 x 15,2 x 0,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Long et peu facile à lire... 24 février 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
De part la longueur des phrases, on se croirait parfois chez Proust, à la différence que Marcel Proust n'est jamais confus.
Est-ce la langue de l'époque ou bien le fait que l'auteur -au moment où il écrivit ce livre- n'était plus jamais en état d'ête concis du à sa grande consommation d'opium.
Par ma part, j'en garderai le souvenir d'un "documentaire" très moyen... Le message est clair: ne pas essayer (l'opium)!!!
Due to the length of the sentences, one can believe reading Proust. The difference is that Marcel Proust is never confusing.
Maybe it's the way of the language of this time or maybe the author -at the writing time- had no longer a chance to be in state of clearness because of his huge usage of opium.
For me this book is more like a documentation on the subject... Anyway the message is clear don't even try (I mean opium)!!!
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 A nice read on Kindle 1 avril 2012
Par Segolene
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The book is an interesting study on opium and how the narrator came to use it. It's not fully detailed so don't expect to get a complete explanation of all the symptoms and effects of opium addiction. However, it's an interesting autobiography, as the title suggest.
The Kindle format is quite good too: the book is short, so you can read it in one go and there are no typos that I can remember (pretty rare for e-books)
Overall, an interesting read for avid readers and people who have enough time to go through less famous classics.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.7 étoiles sur 5  27 commentaires
38 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Great Autobiographical Work of Art 10 août 2007
Par Alan D. Gray - Publié sur
I stumbled on this book while I was a long-haired undergrad in college many years ago, and I selected it (probably because of the intriguing, rebellious-sounding title) to write a term paper on for a class I was taking in biography. I have nursed a special attraction for this work of literary art ever since those days, and currently own it in several different editions, including this one from Penguin Classics.

While his writing is probably tough-going for the typical modern day reader, De Quincey was truly a master stylist of English prose (one of the greatest who ever lived) and the writing here is lushly impeccable -- beautiful and poetic. Contemporary readers, do not be afraid of this kind of book! Sure, it might be difficult to read (it's certainly not "dummied down" like so much modern day stuff), but if you don't try, I think you'll be missing out on a great adventure. After all, consider, Shakespeare and the Bible are difficult to read too!

In any event, these writings of De Quincey's, quite autobiographical, tell of the marvelous stimulus to creativity and pleasure that opium can provide (at least, in the initial phases) to those who become emeshed in her dark empire, as well as the chilling aftermath -- the pathetic fear and trembling that inevitably follow from addiction. At his peak usage, I have read that De Quincey was doing around 8,000 drops a day (approximately 80 teaspoons). As one of the other reviewers here correctly noted, tincture of opium (I think that it actually came as a liquid blend of opium, drinking alcohol, and cinnamon) was sold over-the-counter as medicine in neighborhood apothecary shops (drug stores and pharmacies) in those days.

The "Confessions" date from 1822, while a complementary sequel, "Suspiria de Profundis", dates from 1845. De Qunicey, who relapsed three times after trying to "clean himself up" and "go straight", passed away in December 1859, right about the time that Baudelaire (who also died an opium addict -- in 1867) was completing his own book (it was in direct response to De Quincey's) about the dreamy debacheries of hashish and opium, entitled "Artificial Paradises".
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Flawless, beautiful prose, compelling autobiography. 17 mai 2007
Par Ed the Scot - Publié sur
This is English that one can luxuriate in and enjoy for it's precision and beauty. There are few if any English compositions that better convey subjective feeling than this book. You feel as though you are inside the author's mind as he writes so exactly and sympathetically.

As a recounting of a man's struggle with addiction it is a compelling story.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The book that inspired Dario Argento (and probably countless others).... 28 octobre 2007
Par Grigory's Girl - Publié sur
I first heard of this book because the great Italian horror film maker, Dario Argento, was inspired by the writings of De Quincey, specifically this book. This book contains De Quincey's most famous work, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and 2 unofficial sequels, Suspiria de Profundis (Suspiria is the title of Dario's most famous film), and The English Mail Coach. Suspiria has an essay entitled Levana and our Ladies of Sorrow in which De Quincey talks about the 3 ladies (some have said the three mothers as well). They are the lady of tears, sighs, and darkness. Dario's 2 films, Suspiria and Inferno, are about these mothers/ladies. He just completed the third film. This is the reason I purchased the book.

De Quincey's prose is definitely difficult to read (it's not an easy, mindless self help book), but it is definitely worth reading, and it's absolutely fascinating as Thomas accounts for his opium habit, and the ways it affected him and his work. Opium was staggeringly popular during De Quincey's time, and it wasn't very difficult to get. De Quincey published the confessions twice. The original, shorter version is the one you have here, and it's the only one still available. The longer version (which I have read to some degree) is good too, but it feels padded and is rather uneven. Most scholars have agreed that the shorter version is better. I wish they had included the longer version so we could compare ourselves, but I'm happy this edition is out.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing writing. 25 octobre 2008
Par David M. Giltinan - Publié sur
After circling this book for years, I finally read it this week. And it knocked my socks off. DeQuincey writes like an angel. Even in the less structured passages (his descriptions of his opium dreams are somewhat disjointed) his writing is so astonishingly brilliant that the reader is swept along.

In her introduction to the Penguin Classic edition, Alethea Hayter describes DeQuincey's prose as "highly charged, close-textured, every word and syllable choice enriched with music and imagery", "prose (that) works like a spell, powerfully moving even apart from the meaning of the words."

I can't improve on that characterization.
20 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not visions of sugar plums 1 décembre 2004
Par D. P. Birkett - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It's a classic of course, but not very readable as pure entertainment.Probably the parts about his opium addiction, which are pages 44-88, are of most interest today. To be frank, most of the rest is hard going unless you're adept at reading early nineteenth century English, perhaps an English or history major. De Quincey was a rambling and digressive writer, even by nineteenth century standards. There is some fascination in the interlocking lives of this circle of writers of the romantic movement (the "Lake Poets";Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, and their contemporaries Keats, Shelley and Byron) especially if you've read Richard Holmes's wonderful biographies.

You can get the "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" alone cheaper in the Dover edition. This Penguin Classics edition contained other writings which are of limited appeal, but the notes and the introduction and appendix by Barry Mulligan make it more understandable and provide useful historical background about opium use.

Opium was freely available over the counter in England until 1858, so this could be read as a warning about what might happen with legalization. It has always been a puzzle that De Quincey and Coleridge described vivid dreams and hallucinations as part of their experience, whereas opioids used by addicts today are not usually hallucinogenic. De Quincey was aware that his experiences were atypical and offered his own explanations ("one whose talk is of oxen will dream of oxen").

I was intrigued his account of the relief of his withdrawal symptoms by the use of valerian (prescribed by Bell of Bell's palsy).
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