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“A Biographical Sketch of the life and literary works of one of the luminaries of English literature and one of the all-time great writers, Thomas De Quincey”

“A Biographical Sketch of the life and literary works of one of the luminaries of English literature and one of the all-time great writers, Thomas De Quincey”


My dear fellow lovers of literature and you of all opinions and thoughts and ideas, I bid you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery and the use of critical thinking. I welcome you in this quest and task of coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at and find what is valid and authentic in this present world of confusion and do come with me in tearing apart the lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts. 

Today I will undertake to speak of the life and works of one of the giants of English literature, Thomas De Quincey. For me to even speak of and write of this literary giant is a great honor and privilege which I undertake with great humility and hesitation. To even compare myself with this great writer is something not truly possible. I am a great fan of English literature and in the past have written of such greats of poetry as Keats, Shelley and Byron, and such great novelists as Conrad, Melville, Jane Austen, Dickens, Thackeray and many, many others, including such equally great writers as Sinclair Lewis, Jack London and Steinbeck. De Quincey is equal to the best I have mentioned here. 

Thomas De Quincey was born in 1785 and died in 1859. He was an English essayist and writer best known for his work Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He was born in Manchester and in 1796 enrolled in King Edward’s School. He was sent to Manchester Grammar School to obtain a scholarship to Oxford but left after 19 months. He went on a tramp through Wales in 1802. He enrolled in Oxford and in 1804 began the use of opium but failed to take the oral examination leading to a degree and left the university without graduating. He settled in 1809 in the Lake District where he spent ten years. He married in 1816 and had eight children before his wife’s death in 1837. In 1816 he became a journalist and in 1818 was the editor of The Westmoreland Gazette. He published his book, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, in 1821 and maintained himself by contributing to various journals and periodicals. After leaving Oxford without a degree, he attempted to study law without success and began to spend money on books. He took opium to address his medical issues and died in Edinburgh in 1859. 

In the final ten years of his life he labored on the collected edition of his works. Twenty-two volumes of his writings were published from 1851 to 1859 by an American publisher and a corresponding British edition soon followed. Further collections of his writings followed in 1890 and 1891. He influenced many writers. 

De Quincey is and has always been one of my favorites, in particular his book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. His greatness is apparent to me and my love and admiration for this wonderful writer will never cease. I have known and loved him from my earliest youth and that love will never end at any time. He is an immortal and one of the literary greats. That for me will never end in coming times. I invite future generations to read this man for all times and generations.


I am indebted to the Wikipedia article on this author for the content of this essay.