(b. Aug. 15, 1785, Manchester, Lancashire, Eng.–d.
Dec. 8, 1859, Edinburgh, Scot.), British writer considered a predecessor
of decadence, particularly because of his text, Confessions of an English
De Quincey was a child genius which only isolated
him and assured there would be no mutual understanding between him and
his family, who were successful merchants. As a teenager he ran away from
home and lived „in sin“ with a prostitute around the turn of the nineteenth
century. Eventually he returned to „the fold“ of his family and entered
college where he decided his calling was an intellectual one. He was prolific
essayist.In 1804 he took some opium as a treatment for a nerve disorder
in his face. This began a lifelong addiction.
In 1807 DeQuincey met William Wordsworth and Samuel
Taylor Coleridge, whose Lyrical Ballads, he considered a work of
genius. A pauper writer, success didn’t come until 1821 with The Confessions
of an Opium Eater.
While it is supposedly a warning against drug addiction,
the ambivalence of the poetic descriptions makes the text hard to classify
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