Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

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**LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2016** **New York Times Book Review, Times Literary Supplement and Guardian Best Books of 2016** ‘Life for De Quincey was either angels ascending on vaults of cloud or vagrants shivering on the city streets.’ The last of the Romantics, Thomas De Quincey is a name synonymous with scandal. Modelling his character on Coleridge and his sensibility on Wordsworth, De Quincey took over the latter’s former cottage and turned it into an opium den. Here, in the throes of his high, he nurtured his growing hatred of his former idols and wrote the notorious and fascinatingly strange essay ‘On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts’. Despite never achieving the literary deification of his contemporaries, his narrative style – scripted and sculptured emotional memoir – was to inspire generations of writers: Dickens, Dostoevsky, Virginia Woolf. James Joyce knew whole pages of his work off by heart and he was arguably the father of what we now call psychogeography. Guilty Thing tells the riches-to-rags story of a dazzlingly complex and troubled figure, whose life was lived on the run, and affords De Quincey the literary biography he deserves.

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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