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Confessions of an Opium Eater

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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum (opium and alcohol) addiction and its effect on his life. The Confessions was "the first major work De Quincey published and the one which won him fame almost overnight..."

From its first appearance, the literary style of the Confessions attracted attention and comment. De Quincey was well-read in the English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and assimilated influences and models from Sir Thomas Browne and other writers. Arguably the most famous and often-quoted passage in the Confessions is the apostrophe to opium in the final paragraph of The Pleasures:

"Oh! just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for 'the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,' bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure of blood...."

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