Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (Anglais)
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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)!!!
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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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".
As a recounting of a man's struggle with addiction it is a compelling story.
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.
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.