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The Current Issue

April 2016, Issue 441 Nicholas Roe on a new life of Thomas De Quincey * Adam Sisman on Hugh Trevor-Roper * Isabella Tree on Kathmandu * Caroline Moorehead on the Spanish Civil War * Jonathan Keates on Alessandro de' Medici * Stoddard Martin on Klaus Mann * Robert Irwin on Elizabethan England's fascination with the Islamic World * Tim Hilton on Young Mr Turner * William Doyle on the French Revolution * Paul Bailey on Garth Greenwell * Benjamin Ivry on Erik Satie * Lesley Downer on a memoir of Fukushima * Sarah Darwin on being a beast * Hannah Rosefield on Pride and Prejudice revisited * Gillian Tindall on George Gilbert Scott * Toby Lichtig on David Szalay * Dominic Green on Benjamin Franklin in London  and much, much more…

Nicholas Roe

Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

By Frances Wilson

‘This event of his life – his resort to opium – absorbed all the rest. There is little more to tell in the way of incident. His existence was thenceforth a series of dreams, undergone in different places.’ So the Daily News accounted for Thomas De Quincey, author and opium-eater, on his death in December 1859. Scanty ground for a biography, one might think. Yet De Quincey’s opium habit was a story that absorbed many readers at the time. Taken as a ‘blue pill’ or in alcohol as laudanum, opium was an effective panacea that hooked William Wilberforce and Dorothy Wordsworth, Sara Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens and ... read more

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