Robert Morrison - The English Opium-Eater - Orion Publishing Group
Available Formats
  • Paperback £14.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9780753827895
    • Publication date:11 Nov 2010
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780297858607
    • Publication date:17 Dec 2009

The English Opium-Eater

By Robert Morrison

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

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).

  • Other details

  • 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 is...so 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).

W&N

Disraeli

Douglas Hurd, Edward Young

Benjamin Disraeli was the most gifted parliamentarian of the nineteenth century. A superb orator, writer and wit, he twice rose to become Prime Minister, dazzling many with his famous epigrams along the way. But how much do we really know about the man behind the words? How did this bankrupt Jewish school dropout and trashy novelist reach the top of the Victorian Conservative Party? And why does his reputation continue to have such a hold over British politics today? In this engaging reassessment, Douglas Hurd and Edward Young explore the paradoxes at the centre of Disraeli's 'two lives': a dandy and gambler on the one hand, a devoted servant and favourite Prime Minister of the Queen on the other. A passionately ambitious politician, he intrigued and manoeuvred with unmatched skill to get to - in his own words - 'the top of the greasy pole', but he also developed a set of ideas to which he was devoted. His political achievements are never quite what they seem: he despised the idea of a more classless society, he never used the phrase 'One Nation', and although he passed the Second Reform Act he was no believer in democracy. By stripping away the many myths which surround his career, Douglas Hurd and Edward Young bring alive the true genius of Disraeli in this wonderfully entertaining exploration of his life.

Phoenix

Women Romantics 1785-1832: Writing In Prose

The Romantic Movement is frequently personified by the image of a young poet suffering for his art. However, the Romantics` sense of Liberty also hailed the emergence of an influential generation of women writers, including Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Mary Lamb, Catherine Macaulay, Sarah Hazlitt, Joanna Baillie and Hannah More. Whilst some of the pieces by Women Romantics evolve around themes central to the Movement, such as the reaction to the Industrial Revolution and Revolution in France, much of their prose writing reflects upon women`s rights and suffrage, education, social and domestic life, slavery and race, radical dissent and religion. The reading of Romantic prose writing by women adds an exhilarating new dimension to Romantic studies in particular and to women`s studies in general.

Phoenix

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam

Edward FitzGerald's much-loved, often-quoted, best-selling 1859 translation of the Rubaiyat (650 editions in 150 years), with Attar's charming narrative poem, Bird Parliament. Extensive new introduction with notes and chronology.

Gollancz

The Fledging of Az Gabrielson

Jay Amory
W&N

The Great Divide

Peter Watson
Gateway

The Dream Compass

Jeff Bredenberg
Orion

Damnation Falls

Edward Wright

Randall Wilkes, his big-city journalism career in ruins, has returned after twenty years to Pilgrim's Rest, the Tennessee hill town where he grew up. He has taken on a lucrative but low-prestige writing job for Sonny McMahan, a former governor and Randall's boyhood friend. Faye McMahan, Sonny's mother, is addled with age, imagining that her dead husband is alive and worrying that her son might be in danger. Amid a violent autumn storm, Randall finds Faye hideously murdered, hanged by the neck from a bridge over the town landmark called Damnation Falls. Within days, another person connected to the McMahan clan is murdered in an even more grisly fashion. And the bones of a third, long-buried murder victim - a young woman - have emerged from the earth.Randall's ties to the victims force him to acknowledge debts that go back decades. Drawing on his investigative skills and his roots in the region, he sets out to discover who is behind the killings. His search takes him the length of the state - a land once split by civil war, where history lies close to the surface and tales of murder and betrayal weigh heavily on the town of Pilgrim's Rest. Before all the answers are in, more people will die, an old score will be settled, and the dead will finally tell their stories.

The Murder Room

Murder Every Monday

Pamela Branch

Clifford Flush had not murdered anybody for years. But when he felt the urge to kill his bridge partner he was blackmailed into leaving London. He and his fellow Asterisk Club members, all of whom had been wrongfully acquitted of at least one murder, establish themselves as professional homicide consultants in the ugliest manor house in Dorset. After all, if they could commit the perfect murder why not share that knowledge with the world - for a handsome fee? Flush conducts classes on Grips, Knots, Electricity, Court Etiquette and Alibis. Mrs Barratt teaches Anatomy and Forensic Medicine. Colonel Quincey specialises in Automobiles and Firearms. Everything is going just fine until a member of the 26th class has the effrontery to get himself murdered on the premises.

Orion

Tara Road

Maeve Binchy

Ria and Marilyn have never met - they live thousands of miles apart, separated by the Atlantic Ocean: one in a big, warm, Victorian house in Tara Road, Dublin, the other in a modern, open-plan house in New England. Two more unlikely friends would be hard to find: Ria's life revolves around her family and friends, while Marilyn's reserve is born of grief. But when each needs a place to escape to, a house exchange seems the ideal solution.Along with the borrowed houses come neighbours and friends, gossip and speculation as Ria and Marilyn swap lives for the summer...

W&N

The Fishing Fleet

Anne de Courcy
Phoenix

Dancing into Battle

Nicholas Foulkes

The summer of 1815 saw the final and desperate efforts of European powers to usurp Napoleon's reign over France. The pivotal moment was unfolding in an age where war was a social occasion; the military urgency was matched only by the soldiers and their wives' frantic efforts to keep apace of the lavish balls which were being thrown. The intention to deny war with frivolity persevered until 15 June, when the tension broke, and troops exchanged dance partners for weapons and prepared for battle. Nick Foulkes captures the sense of what it was like to be at the very hub of events when the fate of Europe seemed to hang in the balance.

W&N

William S. Burroughs

Barry Miles

It has been 50 years since Norman Mailer asserted, 'I think that William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.' This assessment holds true today. No-one since then has taken such risks in their writing, developed such individual radical political ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media - Burroughs has written novels, memoirs, technical manuals and poetry, he has painted, made collages, taken thousands of photographs, made visual scrapbooks, produced hundreds of hours of experimental tapes, acted in movies and recorded more CDs than most rock groups.Made a cult figure by the publication of NAKED LUNCH, Burroughs was a mentor to the 1960s youth culture. Underground papers referred to him as 'Uncle Bill' and he ranked alongside Bob Dylan and the Beatles, Buckminster Fuller and R.D. Laing as one of the 'gurus' of the youth movement who might just have the secret of the universe.Based upon extensive research, this biography paints a new portrait of Burroughs, making him real to the reader and showing how he was perceived by his contemporaries in all his guises - from icily distant to voluble drunk. It shows how his writing was very much influenced by his life situation and by the people he met on his travels around America and Europe. He was, beneath it all, a man torn by emotions: his guilt at not visiting his doting mother; his despair at not responding to reconciliation attempts from his father; his distance from his brother; the huge void that separated him from his son; and above all his killing of his wife, Joan Vollmer.

Phoenix

Young Mandela

David James Smith
Orion

The Impossible Dead

Ian Rankin

Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs are back. They've been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct with his own uncle, also in the force, having proved to be his nephew's nemesis. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up - and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist. The spiralling investigation takes Fox back in time to 1985, a year of turmoil in British political life. Terrorists intent on a split between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom were becoming more brazen and ruthless, sending letter-bombs and poisonous spores to government offices, plotting kidnaps and murder, and trying to stay one step ahead of the spies sent to flush them out.Fox has a duty to get at the truth, while the body count rises, the clock starts ticking, and he fights for his professional and personal life.

Disraeli by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young and Time's Anvil by Richard Morris

NEWS: Two Weidenfeld & Nicolson titles Longlisted for Samuel Johnson Prize

Weidenfeld & Nicolson are delighted to have two books on the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013, Disraeli by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young and Time’s Anvil by Richard Morris. The shortlist will be announced on 30 September and the winner on 4 November.

Richard Stoneman

Richard Stoneman is an Oxford trained classicist with a thorough knowledge of ancient Greece, its language and history; he has also published many books on modern Greece and is familiar with the sources from the Middle Ages and the modern period. He is the author of A Literary Companion to Travel in Greece, A Traveller's History of Turkey, A luminous Land: Artists Discover Greece. He is a frequent visitor to Greece and gets withdrawal symptoms if he doesn't go to Athens at least once a year.

Orion Childrens

The Sewer Demon

Caroline Lawrence
Phoenix

The Odes And Selected Fragments

Pindar Pindar
W&N

The Odyssey

Homer

THE ODYSSEY, which tells of Odysseus's long voyage home after the battle of Troy, is one of the defining masterpieces of Western literature. Populated by one-eyed man-eating giants, beautiful seductive goddesses, and lavishly hospitable kings and queens, it is an extraordinary work of the imagination, the original epic voyage into the unknown that has inspired other writing down through the ages - from ancient poems to modern fiction and films. With its consummately modern hero, full of guile and wit, THE ODYSSEY is perfectly suited to our times. Thanks to the scholarship and poetic power of the highly acclaimed Stephen Mitchell, this new translation recreates the energy and simplicity, the speed, the grace, and continual thrust and pull of the original, so that THE ODYSSEY's ancient story bursts vividly into new life.