Saturday, October 29, 2016

Guilty thing : a life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson,put on reserve at NYPL

Booklist Reviews 2016 September #1
*Starred Review* Thomas De Quincey (1785â€"1859) was born fairly rich but lived dodging creditors from the moment he ditched grammar school. A voracious reader, he schlepped book-filled trunks with him every time he movedâ€"as long as the landlord he was stiffing hadn't preemptively seized themâ€"and every room he inhabited was soon flooded with paper. He wrote highly imaginative and witty journalism, autobiographical or literary-critical, about the other British romantics, primarily Wordsworth and Coleridge. If he later became disillusioned with them as persons, he never denied their gifts and achievements. Like Coleridge, he became an opium-eater or, since, following Coleridge, he preferred the liquid medium, laudanum, drinkerâ€"for life. So delightful a conversationalist that those he offended usually made up with him (though he occasionally chose not to with them), he always carried a streak of paranoia, also a fascination with murder. His lastingly influential writings include the macabre humorous essays "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts," and "The English Mail-Coach" as well as the prototype of the recovery memoir, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He had one great American disciple: Edgar Allan Poe. Married and the father of eight, he led a life packed with interest, as Wilson (How to Survive the Titanic, 2011) enthrallingly demonstrates. Copyright 201

No comments:

Post a Comment