Saturday, January 31, 2009
CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER by Thomas De Quincey
The first (1821) edition of De Quincey's Confessions, published in the Penguin Classics series, is an odd, anticlimactic, disappointing work, but it still contains just enough great writing and interesting insights to recommend it. This version was written hurriedly, says our editor, and it shows: the work is detailed where it should be summary and summary where it should be detailed (in the descriptions of opium dreams, for example). I'd like to read the final edition, which the editor calls overwritten and overwrought but which I suspect is more detailed and superior by virtue of its greater temporal (and thus critical) distance from the narrated events.