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The Letters of Thomas De Quincey

Robert Morrison

Fri 31 May
7:30 pm
- 9:00 pm BST

Hybrid Hybrid Event
£3.00 – £6.00
Hybrid Hybrid Event

The Letters of Thomas de Quincey: Archives, Autobiography, and the Literature of Addiction

Thomas De Quincey is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), widely considered the first modern drug memoir. What is less well known is that De Quincey was also an inveterate letter writer, who in his private correspondence reveals much darker sides of his experience than he does in the polished pieces of autobiography that he published in the leading magazines of the day.

This talk explores how, in opposition to his highly romanticised accounts of drug use and abuse in Confessions, De Quincey in his letters tells a sadder, grittier, and far more unnerving story of opiate addiction.

To find out more about Robert’s quest for the letters, read a short interview with him here:


Robert Morrison has spent much of the last five years in Bath, where he is British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University. The primary focus of his research during this time has been finding hitherto unknown letters written by Thomas De Quincey (including two in the Bath Record Office), and then travelling to the archives (or to the location of private collections) to transcribe them. To date he has found almost three hundred De Quincey letters that he knew nothing about when the project began! Once collected and thoroughly annotated, The Letters of Thomas De Quincey will be published in two volumes by Oxford University Press.

Photograph: Bernard Clark


Fri 31 May
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm BST
£3.00 – £6.00
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