a curious invitation last tuesday society
a curious invitation the century club last tuesday society soho london
The English Opium Eater


The Life and Times of Thomas De Quincey
With Frances Wilson at the Century Club - Soho W1

Tuesday 31st January 2023
Doors at 6:30 pm, talk begins at 7:00 pm

Thomas De Quincey the English writer, essayist, and literary critic, remains best known for his book 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’, yet his works run to 21 volumes including his masterpiece “On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts”. Following a troubled childhood, he ran away from school at the age of 17 to live in Georgian London. Here he found his literary niche supplying mass magazine audiences with sensational journalism – reports of murders, rapes, suicides and freak accidents. He also found love with a young prostitute named Ann who he later lost in the vast anonymity of the city.

In this talk, biographer Frances Wilson tells the riches-to-rags story of a writer of dazzling complexity and originality whose rackety life was lived on the run. Wilson will explore this theme of De ‘Quincey’s lost girls’ and his obsession with murder that became so important in his life and work. She will also investigate the use and romanticisation of opium that came to define him. De Quincey was thirty-six when “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” his sensational memoir of addiction, which was published, anonymously, in 1821.

Frances traces these and De Quincey’s other obsessions - including that with Wordsworth and Coleridge - and describes his wide ranging influence on writers including Edgar Allen Poe, Dostoevsky, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Tickets £12 - please click here to buy.

Frances Wilson
Frances Wilson is an academic, critic and the author of 'Guilty Things’, the multi award winning biography of Thomas De Quincey. She has written five other books of non fiction including, most recently, another award winning biography: Burning Man: The Ascent of D.H. Lawrence'. She teaches writing at Goldsmith's College, University of London.


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31st January 2023
The English Opium-Eater: The Life and Times of Thomas De Quincey with Frances Wilson

The Century Club
salons at the Century Club Soho