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Thomas De Quincey

Selected Writings

Edited by Robert Morrison

Publication Date - 04 November 2022

ISBN: 9780192868046

672 pages
8.5 x 5.4 inches

In Stock


This volume in the 21st-Century Oxford Authors series offers students an authoritative, comprehensive selection of the work of Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859). The edition presents De Quincey's work in all of its rich variety, and offers the most thorough and accurate annotation of De Quincey's major works ever compiled.

Thomas De Quincey: 21st-Century Oxford Authors is the most comprehensive selection of De Quincey's writings published in decades, and includes all the essays that made him a major figure in his own age, and that give him a burgeoning relevance in ours. The volume features complete versions of his three most famous works of impassioned autobiography—Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), Suspiria de Profundis (1845), and 'The English Mail-Coach' (1849)—as well as a great deal of manuscript material related to these works, and an extensive selection from his revised version of the Confessions (1856). It contains all three of his essays 'On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts' (1827, 1839, and 1854), the first two instalments of which are brilliant exercises in satirical high jinks, and the final instalment of which is a graphic account of the notorious Radcliffe Highway killings of 1811. It features lengthy excerpts from De Quincey's biographical recollections of 'Samuel Taylor Coleridge' (1834) and 'William Wordsworth' (1839), both of whom De Quincey admired intensely, though his personal relationship with both poets eventually collapsed into bitterness and self-justification. It features De Quincey's finest pieces of literary criticism, including 'On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth' (1823) and his two searching examinations of 'The Literature Knowledge and the Literature of Power' (1823 and (1848).

The edition includes an Introduction to the life and works of De Quincey, and a Chronology, which enhance the study, understanding, and enjoyment of these works.


  • Introduces students to the life and work of Thomas De Quincey, the nineteenth-century essayist, critic, autobiographer, and addict
  • Offers the most comprehensive selection of De Quincey's writings published in decades
  • De Quincey's work is presented in chronological order, allowing students to study his development and growth
  • Includes a separate Chronology at the opening of the volume, which provides details of De Quincey's life, career, and the publication of his works
  • The writings are presented free of annotation on the page, allowing students to encounter the original texts afresh
  • Explanatory notes and commentary are located at the end of the book, providing students with a wealth of additional material and information that will enhance the understanding and enjoyment of these works
  • An essential teaching resource, representing the scope and range of De Quincey's talent

About the Author(s)

Robert Morrison, British Academy Global Professor, Bath Spa University

Robert Morrison is British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University. He is the author of The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey, which was a finalist for the James Tait Black Prize. His annotated edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion was published by Harvard University Press. For Oxford World's Classics, he edited De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, as well as his three essays On Murder. With Chris Baldick, he co-edited The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre and Tales of Terror from Blackwood`s Magazine in the same series.


"One of the themes that emerges in Robert Morrison's impressive edition of De Quincey's selected works, in Oxford University Press's '21st Century Oxford Authors' series, is the extent to which the author was awed by the sheer quantity of print, the mass of books and magazines, circulating among readers in Britain and abroad, on a scale never before known...Although these are not the themes that Robert Morrison chooses to highlight in this elegant and beautifully produced volume, they are nonetheless evident throughout the selection of works that he presents. With his surefooted editorial stance, Morrison leads us through a rich selection of De Quincey's greatest hits." -- Josephine McDonagh, Romanticism

"Robert Morrison's new edition is a good place to start exploring De Quincey." -- Jane Darcy, King's College London, Time Literary Supplement

Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations
    Note on the Text
    Part I
    1. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
    2. Manuscript and Other Material related to Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
    3. From Letters to a Young Man Whose Education has been Neglected [The Literature of Knowledge and The Literature of Power]
    4. On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth
    5. On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts
    6. From Elements of Rhetoric
    7. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    8. From Lake Reminiscences, from 1807 to 1830
    9. Second Paper On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts
    10. From Style
    11. Suspiria de Profundis
    Part II
    12. Manuscript Material related to Suspiria de Profundis
    13. From The Works of Alexander Pope
    14. The English Mail-Coach
    15. Manuscript Material related to The English Mail-Coach
    16. From the Preface to Selections Grave and Gay
    17. Explanatory Notices of The English Mail-Coach
    18. Postscript to On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts
    19. Letter to Emily De Quincey
    20. From Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1856