The Art of Walking and the Mindscapes of Trauma in Thomas De Quincey’s Autobiographical Works: The Pains of Wandering, the Pains of Remembering

  • Françoise Dupeyron-Lafay


Walking is a central theme and a major structuring power in De Quincey’s autobiographical works, conditioning their chronology, geography, tempo and form. He relocated the “peripatetic” in a new, darker environment—the metropolis and its pariahs—sowing the seeds of many modern urban topoi, and becoming the literary architect of modern London as an enigmatic, alien, palimpsest-like mindscape controlled by a subliminal and emotional form of logic fostered by opium but, more importantly, by childhood trauma. Because of his lifelong sense of exile and alienation, and his pioneering (dis)figuration of London (a site of fixation in his texts), his works, long marginalized as minor Romantic oddities, fully deserve to be recognized as major landmarks in the joint history of autobiography, pedestrian mobility, and urban writing.


Sunday Morning Oxford Street Paradise Lost Traumatic Childhood Experience Major Landmark 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise Dupeyron-Lafay
    • 1
  1. 1.University Paris-EstCréteilFrance

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