Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) studied at Oxford, failing to take his degree but discovering opium. He later met Coleridge, Southey and the Wordsworths. From 1828 until his death he lived in Edinburgh and made his living from journalism. Barry Milligan is Professor of English at Wright State University and author of Pleasures and Pains (Virginia UP, 1995).
"Mind-blowingly modern . . . [De Quincey's] poetic depictions of the wild hallucinations that punctuated his years with the drug transfixed his contemporaries. To us, though, his story is revelatory mostly for its eerie familiarity." --The New York Times Book Review
"De Quincey's rather majestic, classically learned and singular style inspires every page of his writing. . . . The self-controlled equanimity of this classic volume is little short of miraculous." --The Guardian