Thomas De Quincey and the Fluid Movement Between Literary and Scientific Writings on Dream-Inducing Drugs

  • Thalia Trigoni
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


This chapter argues that Thomas De Quincey’s autobiographical Confessions of an English Opium-Eater propelled the production of drug autobiographies, temperance confessions, fiction and philosophical enquiry. In line with this main thesis, the chapter is divided into three sections. The first explores the physiological and psychological symptoms that accompanied the dreams De Quincey suffered and often enjoyed while in the drug’s grips. The second traces how nineteenth-century drug autobiographies obsessively referenced De Quincey’s Confessions, and studies how authors and drug users reproduced their personal experiences, both physical and psychological, for the consumption of the general public. Finally, the third section explores how this popular fascination with drugs and dreams contributed to the increasing interest of contemporary physicians in conducting medical professional studies of various dream-inducing drugs.


Thomas De Quincey Opium Dreams Drug autobiography History of medicine 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thalia Trigoni
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CyprusCyprusCyprus

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