Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

Joel Black (University of Georgia)
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First published in the September and October 1821 issues of the London Magazine and as a book the following year, the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater established Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859) as a pre-eminent English writer of the Romantic and early Victorian periods. As his best known work which showcases his characteristic “impassioned prose”, the Confessions combines mundane autobiographical events and visionary fantasies in a vivid, often digressive manner. De Quincey’s personal account of the effects of “a seventeen years’ use, and an eight years’ abuse of [opium’s] powers” (75) on his intellectual and imaginative faculties has influenced generations of writers and artists and has made the book a subject of social and literary controversy to this day.


2950 words

Citation: Black, Joel. "Confessions of an English Opium Eater". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 April 2012 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

9768 Confessions of an English Opium Eater 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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