Audiobook: Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
1 - 01 – To the Reader
- Download 01 – To the Reader audio
- Download 02 – ‘These preliminary confessions…’ audio
- Download 03 – ‘So blended and intertwisted…’ audio
- Download 04 – ‘Soon after this I contrived…’ audio
- Download 05 – ‘Soon after the period of the last…’ audio
- Download 06 – ‘I dally with my subject…’ audio
- Download 07 – ‘So then, Oxford Street…’ audio
- Download 08 – ‘And therefore, worthy doctors…’ audio
- Download 09 – ‘The late Duke of — used to…’ audio
- Download 10 – ‘Courteous, and I hope indulgent…’ audio
- Download 11 – ‘If any man, poor or rich…’ audio
- Download 12 – ‘As when some great painter…’ audio
- Download 13 – ‘I have thus described and illustrated…’ audio
- Download 14 – ‘Many years ago when I was…’ audio
- Download 15 – June 1819 audio
- Download 16 – Appendix: December 1822 audio
“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium!”
Though apparently presenting the reader with a collage of poignant memories, temporal digressions and random anecdotes, the Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of all autobiographies. The work is of great appeal to the contemporary reader, displaying a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of its own composition and significance. De Quincey may be said to scrutinise his life, somewhat feverishly, in an effort to fix his own identity.
The title seems to promise a graphic exposure of horrors; these passages do not make up a large part of the whole. The circumstances of its hasty composition sets up the work as a lucrative piece of sensational journalism, albeit published in a more intellectually respectable organ – the London Magazine – than are today’s tawdry exercises in tabloid self-exposure. What makes the book technically remarkable is its use of a majestic neoclassical style applied to a very romantic species of confessional writing – self-reflexive but always reaching out to the Reader.
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