Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ndmmz Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-23T09:41:08.267Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 4 - The Victorians: Empire and the East

from Part 1 - Origins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 2019

Geoffrey P. Nash
Affiliation:
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Get access

Summary

In his well-known memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), Thomas De Quincey seeks to disprove popular perceptions about the effects of opium. As he observes: “It is not so much affirmed as taken for granted, by all who ever mention opium, formally or incidentally, that it does, or can produce intoxication.”1 Taking issue with this assumption, De Quincey states: “Now reader, assure yourself, meo periculo, that no quantity of opium ever did, or could intoxicate.”2 Instead, according to De Quincey, it is wine that “disorders the mental faculties.”3 What is significant about these statements is not so much the information they convey about the somnolent qualities of opium vis-à-vis wine as the confidence and authority with which De Quincey writes them. He evidently writes from experience and familiarity with opium. He writes with the conviction of someone who knows of what he writes: “now reader, assure yourself …” Indeed, given the autobiographical thrust of Confessions, which details De Quincey’s lifelong addiction to opium, he does seem uniquely qualified to dispense advice on opium. He of all people seems best suited to judge the relative merits as it were of “Turkish opium” and “East Indian opium.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×