Robert Morrison - The English Opium-Eater - Orion Publishing Group
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    • ISBN:9780753827895
    • Publication date:11 Nov 2010
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    • ISBN:9780297858607
    • Publication date:17 Dec 2009

The English Opium-Eater

By Robert Morrison

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Definitive life of the author of CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER, journalist, political commentator and biographer

Author of the famous and semi-scandalous CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER, Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) has long lacked a fully fledged biography. His friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods - including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle - have long placed him at the centre of 19th-century literary studies. De Quincey also stands at the meeting point in the culture wars between Edinburgh and London; between high art and popular taste; and between the devotees of the Romantic imagination and those of hack journalism. He was a man who engaged with nearly every facet of literary culture, including the roles played by publishers, booksellers and journalists in literary production, dissemination and evaluation. His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, William Burroughs and Peter Ackroyd.

De Quincey is a fascinating (and topical) figure for other reasons too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison's biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected essayist, critic and biographer.

Biographical Notes

Robert Morrison is recognised as a world-class scholar of Romantic and Victorian literature. He is the editor of the OUP edition of De Quincey's essays 'On Murder' and co-editor of a collection of new essays on De Quincey (Routledge).

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  • ISBN: 9780297852797
  • Publication date: 26 Nov 2009
  • Page count: 480
Robert Morrison's biography is astute and revealing, quarrying new sources. — SUNDAY TIMES 22.11.09 - John Carey
I knew that I was on to a good thing with this book before the page numbers were even out of roman numerals... This was a lively life, and this is a lively Life... — THE SPECTATOR - 5.12.09 - Sam Leith
Morrison writes... with a combination of perspicacity and generous puzzlement... Thanks to Morrison... the life is clearer than it has ever been. — THE OBSERVER - 6.12.09 - James Purdon
''Robert Morrison's biography is impressive, the first biography of De Quincey in almost thirty years, and the first to use all his published and unpublished works.'' — THE LITERARY REVIEW - December 09 - Tom Paulin
an astute and revealing life — THE SUNDAY TIMES - 13.12.09 - Our Choice Of The Best Recent Books
The time was ripe for a new biography and Morrison has done his man proud. This is an exceptionally well-balanced account. — THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - 13.12.09 - Jonathan Bate - Book Of The Week
''Far more than the other great essayists who were his contemporaries, De Quincey speaks to us directly about our divisions, our addictions, our losses, our selves.'' It's a large claim but one that is borne out by this fine survey of a remarkable life. — THE FINANCIAL TIMES - 23.12.09 - John Sutherland
As Robert Morrison demonstrates in this engaging new biography, there was more to De Quincey than the addled fanatic who became addicted to laudanum — SUNDAY HERALD (SCOTLAND) 27.12.09 - Trevor Royle
Morrison provides a compelling survey of De Quincey's work as a biographer, satirist, economist, political commentator, translator, linguist and classicist. I cannot think of a more evocative introduction to the life and times of this remarkable writer. — THE INDEPENDENT - 08.01.10 BOOK OF THE WEEK - Duncan Wu
a book which is full of insight and careful reasoning... Morrison does a superb job of literary detection going through a life of lies, procrastination and deceit, and teasing out whatever truth there is to be had. — THE GUARDIAN 09.01.10 - Jad Adams
Morrison has travelled heroically through a huge corpus of forgotten works and has made the most of unprecendented access to the private papers... Inside the rebel, this eye-opening biography reveals, was an aspirant to the establishment. — THE SCOTSMAN - 16.01.10 - Michael Kerrigan
Morrison makes no judgements about his subject's overwhelming irresponsibility, but tells it all with clarity and dispassion. The English-Opium Eater enhances our understanding of De Quincey's profigate and cross-grained nature. — THE IRISH TIMES - 30.01.10 - Patricia Craig
This biography is well-paced and gripping... an excellent account of an essayist who ''extended the range and possibilities of English prose.'' — THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - 30.01.10 - Graeme Voyer
At his best, De Quincey was an essayist hardly without peer. In this insightful, intelligent and sympathetic biography, Morrison wisely stands back and lets his subject speak, inserting himself now and again to indulge his own considerable talent for story. — THE KINGSTON WHIG STANDARD - 06.02.10 - Merilyn Simonds
In this well-placed and astute biography, Morrison... traces the sources of De Quincey's lifelong unhappiness, the seed of his ''addictive personality'' — THE NATIONAL POST - 13.02.10 - Philip Marchand
The time was ripe for a new biography and Morrison... has done his man proud. This is an exceptionally well-balanced account. — THE OTTAWA CITIZEN - 14.01.10 - Jonathan Bate
The English Opium-Eater is one of ''four fine new books.. finding firm footing on the national literary landscape.'' — HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - 28.02.10 - Stephen Clare
''This isn't a debunking biography, just a properly sceptical one, and it's clear that Morrison's enthusiasm for the man and his writings does not obscure his judgement. De Quincey was one of the strangest geniuses of the Romantic period and that, of course, is saying something... Morrison...makes makes this maddening, self-deceiving and slippery man so fascinating and ultimately loveable''. — THE TABLET - 04.03.10 - Suzi Feay
''The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey rich in research that the readers can profitably ingest it at a relaxing rate'' — TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL - 27. 03. 10 - George Fetherling
''a thoroughly compelling and eminently readable portrait of De Quincey underscored by serious scholarly work.... A 400-page biography of a 19th-century writer and drug addict might seem daunting (especially when one considers the additional 50 pages of scholarly end material), but The English Opium-Eater is nothing of the sort.. It is not only scholarly but thought-provoking; thorough, but also scintillating, and a genuine pleasure to read.'' — BOOK OF EXCEPTIONAL MERIT, QUILL AND QUIRE - Robert J. Weirsema - April 2010
gripping new biography... Morrison's book offers one of the fullest and most vivid accounts of the bohemian life of the Opium-Eater. — TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT - 09.04.10 - Gregory Dart
Morrison argues convincingly that De Quincey's addiction can be seen to serve a purpose... Morrison's biography is the first to draw on the 21-volume edition of De Quincey's works that emerged in 2000-3.... full of insight — LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS - 13.05.10

Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison is recognised as a world-class scholar of Romantic and Victorian literature. He is the editor of the OUP edition of De Quincey's essays 'On Murder' and co-editor of a collection of new essays on De Quincey (Routledge).



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