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Sunday, 16 October 2016

New & Notable: Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

We are more than halfway through October, which means that the dark descends upon us early, and the cold is setting in. I don't know about you, but rather than reaching for cheerier fare, I'm inclined towards bleaker reading as autumn wanes. What better suited to my purposes than Frances Wilson's recent biography of renowned nineteenth century opium-eater, murder-obsessed journalist and literary legend Thomas De Quincey?


Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey has received high praise from The Guardian, the Literary Review, and The Times, among others. In a piece for The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson calls Wilson "a biographer with a De Quinceyan eye for pattern, and a sharp sense of the ironies that made her subject’s life at once so rich and so depleted". Guilty Thing unravels De Quincey's vast intellect, follows his obsessions, and re-animates his literary spirit, which, it should be recalled, greatly influenced an impressive array of writers, including Borges, Dickens, Nabokov and Wilde.


The text in the above image reads: Holyrood Abbey, where De Quincey lived like 'the ghost of one whose body had not received the clod of earth to entitle it to rest in peace'. I hope this will pique your gothic sensibilities as it has mine. Happy October!

- Helen

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