Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) launched a fascination with drug use and abuse that has continued from his day to ours. In the Confessions De Quincey invents recreational drug taking, but he also details both the lurid nightmares that beset him in the depths of his addiction as well as his humiliatingly futile attempts to renounce the drug. Suspiria de Profundis centres on the deep afflictions of De Quincey’s childhood, and examinesthe powerful and often paradoxical relationship between drugs and human creativity.
In ‘The English Mail-Coach’, the tragedies of De Quincey’s past are played out with horrifying repetitiveness against a backdrop of Britain as a Protestant and an imperial power. This edition presents De Quincey’s finest essays in impassioned autobiography, together with three appendices that are highlighted by a wealth of manuscript material related to the three main texts.