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The Labyrinths of De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

  • Adam Colman
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

This chapter begins by considering the echoes of Thomas De Quincey found in detective fiction. Colman argues that De Quincey, whose work on opium was foundational for modern understandings of drug addiction, specifically links addiction to repetitive investigation. De Quincey’s understanding of consumption habit, Colman shows, was influenced by the Brunonian medicine that had previously influenced Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and De Quincey shared but intensified the Brunonian sense of addictive habit as a corollary to exploratory, literary habit. Colman in particular closely reads one scene in De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater—the description of a labyrinth in the work of Piranesi—to illustrate how De Quincey forged a new, addictive sense of literary worlds, worlds in which one might repeatedly, desirously pursue possibility.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Colman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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