Thomas De Quincey: 21st-Century Oxford Authors is the most comprehensive selection of De Quincey’s writings published in decades, and includes all the essays that made him a major figure in his own age, and that give him a burgeoning relevance in ours. Edited by Robert Morrison, the volume features complete versions of De Quincey’s three most famous works of impassioned autobiography – Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), Suspiria de Profundis (1845), and ‘The English Mail-Coach’ (1849) – as well as a great deal of manuscript material related to these works, and an extensive selection from his revised version of the Confessions (1856). It contains all three of his essays ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’ (1827, 1839, and 1854), the first two instalments of which are brilliant exercises in satirical high jinks, and the final instalment of which is a graphic account of the notorious Radcliffe Highway killings of 1811. It features lengthy excerpts from De Quincey’s biographical recollections of ‘Samuel Taylor Coleridge’ (1834) and ‘William Wordsworth’ (1839), both of whom De Quincey admired intensely, though his personal relationship with both poets eventually collapsed into bitterness and self-justification. It features De Quincey’s finest pieces of literary criticism, including ‘On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth’ (1823) and his two searching examinations of ‘The Literature Knowledge and the Literature of Power’ (1823 and 1848).
The edition includes an Introduction to the life and works of De Quincey, and a Chronology, which enhance the study, understanding, and enjoyment of these works.
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