The English Opium Eater, Robert Morrison’s gripping biography of Thomas De Quincey, passionately argues for the critical importance and enduring value of this neglected essayist, critic, and biographer. Friend of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle, De Quincey stood at the meeting point between high art and hack journalism, and engaged with nearly every facet of nineteenth century literary culture. A major influence on later writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, William Burroughs and Peter Ackroyd, De Quincey richly merits Robert’s thorough and perspicacious reevaluation.
The English Opium Eater has received excellent reviews both in Canada and Britain. “Not only scholarly but thought–provoking; thorough, but also scintillating, and a genuine pleasure to read,” says Robert J. Weirsema in Quill and Quire, naming it a book of exceptional merit. The Literary Review (UK) calls it “impressive,” while Sam Leith, writing in The Spectator, adds: “I knew that I was on to a good thing with this book before the page numbers were even out of roman numerals… This was a lively life, and this is a lively Life…”
Recently, The English Opium Eater was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Biography, one of England’s oldest and most prestigious literary awards.
A world–renowned professor of Romantic Literature at Queen’s University, Robert received his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University. Editor and contributor to numerous scholarly works, he is also the recipient of an Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award, two Frank Knox Awards for Excellence in Teaching, and the W. J. Barnes Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Robert lives in Kingston.
Photo Credit: Alastair Morrison