Big Poppy

The English Opium Eater
A Biography of Thomas De Quincey
Robert Morrison
Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $37.99, 462 pp.

Some writers tower over their age while others merge with it. Wordsworth and Coleridge stand like beacons over the early nineteenth century, while a writer like Thomas De Quincey remains part of the landscape. Robert Morrison’s engaging biography of De Quincey does not try to undo this natural state of affairs by inflating its subject’s importance. At the same time, there is something powerfully unique about De Quincey that cries out for analysis. Since his death in 1859 his admirers have...

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About the Author

Peter Schwendener has written for the American Scholar, the New Criterion, and other publications.

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