CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER

CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER

3.6 9
by Thomas De Quincey
     
 

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TO THE READER


I here present you, courteous reader, with the record of a remarkable
period in my life: according to my application of it, I trust that it
will prove not merely an interesting record, but in a considerable degree
useful and instructive. In _that_ hope it is that I have drawn it up;
and _that_ must be my apology for

Overview

TO THE READER


I here present you, courteous reader, with the record of a remarkable
period in my life: according to my application of it, I trust that it
will prove not merely an interesting record, but in a considerable degree
useful and instructive. In _that_ hope it is that I have drawn it up;
and _that_ must be my apology for breaking through that delicate and
honourable reserve which, for the most part, restrains us from the public
exposure of our own errors and infirmities. Nothing, indeed, is more
revolting to English feelings than the spectacle of a human being
obtruding on our notice his moral ulcers or scars, and tearing away that
"decent drapery" which time or indulgence to human frailty may have drawn
over them; accordingly, the greater part of _our_ confessions (that is,
spontaneous and extra-judicial confessions) proceed from demireps,
adventurers, or swindlers: and for any such acts of gratuitous
self-humiliation from those who can be supposed in sympathy with the
decent and self-respecting part of society, we must look to French
literature, or to that part of the German which is tainted with the
spurious and defective sensibility of the French. All this I feel so
forcibly, and so nervously am I alive to reproach of this tendency, that
I have for many months hesitated about the propriety of allowing this or
any part of my narrative to come before the public eye until after my
death (when, for many reasons, the whole will be published); and it is
not without an anxious review of the reasons for and against this step
that I have at last concluded on taking it.

Guilt and misery shrink, by a natural instinct, from public notice: they
court privacy and solitude: and even in their choice of a grave will
sometimes sequester themselves from the general population of the
churchyard, as if declining to claim fellowship with the great family of
man, and wishing (in the affecting language of Mr. Wordsworth)

Humbly to express
A penitential loneliness.

It is well, upon the whole, and for the interest of us all, that it
should be so: nor would I willingly in my own person manifest a disregard
of such salutary feelings, nor in act or word do anything to weaken them;
but, on the one hand, as my self-accusation does not amount to a
confession of guilt, so, on the other, it is possible that, if it _did_,
the benefit resulting to others from the record of an experience
purchased at so heavy a price might compensate, by a vast overbalance,
for any violence done to the feelings I have noticed, and justify a
breach of the general rule. Infirmity and misery do not of necessity
imply guilt. They approach or recede from shades of that dark alliance,
in proportion to the probable motives and prospects of the offender, and
the palliations, known or secret, of the offence; in proportion as the
temptations to it were potent from the first, and the resistance to it,
in act or in effort, was earnest to the last. For my own part, without
breach of truth or modesty, I may affirm that my life has been, on the
whole, the life of a philosopher: from my birth I was made an
intellectual creature, and intellectual in the highest sense my pursuits
and pleasures have been, even from my schoolboy days. If opium-eating be
a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in
it to an excess not yet _recorded_ {1} of any other man, it is no less
true that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a
religious zeal, and have at length accomplished what I never yet heard
attributed to any other man--have untwisted, almost to its final links,
the accursed chain which fettered me. Such a self-conquest may
reasonably be set off in counterbalance to any kind or degree of self-
indulgence. Not to insist that in my case the self-conquest was
unquestionable, the self-indulgence open to doubts of casuistry,
according as that name shall be extended to acts aiming at the bare
relief of pain, or shall be restricted to such as aim at the excitement
of positive pleasure.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940014686440
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
07/05/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
106 KB

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Confessions of an English Opium Eater 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Confessions of an English Opium-eater!It's one of the best books I've ever read, the way De Quincy depicts his life, along with others just takes you to where he is,what he's experiencing,feeling, everything! I think everyone who's ever considered doing drugs should read this then make their decision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was very interesting and entertaining. One of my favorite books.
LadyBadness More than 1 year ago
I read Murder as a Fine Art by Thomas De Qunicey last year and found it so interesting that I had to know more about the author! What better way to learn about him than to read his "Confessions?" The book covers the pros and cons of opium use, which was a fairly common practice in De Quincey's time. He describes the nightmares he suffered as a result of the opium addiction in vivid detail, making the reader understand why De Quincey did not advocate opium use, even though he was an avid user. De Quincey's account is so real and compelling that the reader can feel the lure of opium and the devastation of its continued use. This is a quick read, but provides unusual insight to the author's mind, as well as the time period.
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loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joe is caca and poop 4 stars!!!!