In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran; Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea.

We live in an age of substitution. We substitute chemicals for sugar, noise for music, pornography for art and celebrity for accomplishment. We substitute money for happiness, bombast for oratory and despair for hope. Is it any wonder that we learned so much of this from people who substituted drugs for creativity?

The English opium eater : a biography of Thomas De Quincey New York, Pegasus Books, 2010 Robert Morrison Drug addicts Great Britain Biography, De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859 Hardcover. Originally published: London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009.  1st. American ed. and printing. xvii, 462 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG   

Thomas De Quincey’s friendships with leading poets and men of letters in the Romantic and Victorian periods – including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle – have long placed him at the centre of 19th-century literary studies. De Quincey also stands at the meeting point in the culture wars between Edinburgh and London; between high art and popular taste; and between the devotees of the Romantic imagination and those of hack journalism.

His writing was a tremendous influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, William Burroughs and Peter Ackroyd. De Quincey is a fascinating (and topical) figure for other reasons too: a self-mythologizing autobiographer whose attitudes to drug-induced creativity and addiction strike highly resonant chords for a contemporary readership. Robert Morrison’s biography passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected essayist, critic and biographer.

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