Thomas De Quincey: The Opium-Eater’s Confessions 200 Years On Back

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, an autobiographical account detailing the author’s laudanum addiction and its effects on his physical and mental states. We’ve invited two people who know Confessions well to discuss the creation, impact and relevance of De Quincey’s seminal work. The manuscript of the work prepared for the printer in 1821, housed at Wordsworth Grasmere, will be explored in close-up detail.

Our two guests are joining us online from opposite sides of the world. Professor Grevel Lindop will be in the Jerwood Centre to explore the history of the work with manuscripts and first editions to hand. Professor David B. Ruderman will discuss his own current work relating to Confessions, in particular his poetry workshops with recovering addicts.

This online event is a unique opportunity to discover the past and present of this iconic work of literature, and to see the original manuscripts close-up on screen from the heart of our beautiful library and archive.

How to book and attend

Please read our guide to booking and attending online events before you purchase a ticket.

Five free tickets are available for each session for those experiencing financial hardship that would otherwise not be able to attend. This is on a first come first served basis with no questions asked about your situation. Please email Hannah at

Live captions will be provided by Otter.

About the speakers

Grevel Lindop is the author of The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey. He was also General Editor of the complete edition, The Works of Thomas De Quincey, which appeared in 21 volumes between 2000 and 2003. Grevel was formerly a professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies at the Victoria University of Manchester.

D.B. Ruderman (David) is an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University and has published articles on romanticism, pedagogy, and poetry/poetics. His book The Idea of Infancy in 19-Century British Poetry is published by Routledge. In addition to teaching at Ohio State, David facilitates a weekly poetry-writing workshop for recovering addicts who have been convicted of non-violent drug charges.

Jeff Cowton is Curator & Head of Learning at the Wordsworth Trust. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE in recognition of services to museums. He is currently leading on the reinterpretation of the site and Museum for the NHLF-funded project Reimagining Wordsworth.

Tickets £5: