Thomas de Quincey

Essay by joker611University, Bachelor's April 2004

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Thomas de Quincey

Thomas de Quincey was born in the year 1785. His birthplace was the industrial city Manchester, Lancashire, in England. He is best known for his journalistic essay, "Confessions of an English Opium Eater", which appeared in the London Magazine in 1821. This entry describes the nature and existence of an "opium-eater" and compares it to the likeness of an alcoholic and the everyday Englishman. This entry, which was written during the times of Romanticism, has a very Romantic style of writing. Romanticism was all about the realization of one's self and the abundant use of Imagination. Anything written during this period that consisted of any independence or imagination was considered romantic.

Quincey definitely qualified in both of these categories. His imagination came from both his mind and the highly addictive substance opium. Quincey was addicted to opium from his early youth. Quincey's father was a wealthy linen merchant and his mother was the normal housewife.

Quincey was a privileged child. He was sent to the very best schools around. He was schooled in Bath and Winkfield. At the age of 13 he wrote Greek with ease. At the age of 15 he was composing Greek verses in lyric metres and conversed in Greek fluently. Quincey's father passed away in 1793. His father left the family a fortune due to the linen industry.

Quincey first tried opium when he was 13 years old. When Quincey turned 17 he ran away from Manchester Grammar School. Quincey ran away to Wales with both his mother and uncle having knowledge of it. Before returning home he lived in the London poverty for a while. He was known to speak of "Anne of Oxford Street" a prostitute who showed kindness to a young runaway. With only a good imagination can...