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PR 4530



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From a picture by Peter Vandyke in the National Portrait Gallery

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From a drawing by Robert Hancock in the National Portrait Gallery.


THE matter of this volume breaks itself into two main divisions, as follows:


Although De Quincey's Autobiography, so far as it was revised by himself in 1853 for the Edinburgh Collective Edition of his writings, stopped at 1803, when he went to Oxford, he left a continuation of that Autobiography, accessible to those that might be curious about it, in two old papers of his in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine. One of these, bearing the continued general title "Sketches of Life and Manners from the Autobiography of an English Opium-Eater," but with the sub-title "Oxford," had appeared, in three successive



parts, in the numbers of the magazine for February, June, and August 1835; the other, forming but a single article, had appeared in the number for June 1836, with the simple title, "Autobiography of an English Opium-Eater continued," but without any sub-title, or any indication of its nature except what might be conveyed by the head-lines,-"The German Language," ," "The German Philosophic Literature," and "The Philosophy of Kant," at the tops of the right-hand pages. As the two papers together carry on the Autobiography from 1803 to 1808, they are reproduced in this volume from the columns of the magazine as two chapters of De Quincey's Autobiography additional to the Revised Autobiography contained in the preceding volume. The first, and much the larger, is sufficiently described by the title "Oxford," used as a sub-title for it in Tait's Magazine. It is a careful and very readable account of the system of Oxford life and education during the five years of De Quincey's connexion with the University, with glimpses of himself, though not so numerous or continuous as might be wished, as he moved obscurely through the academic medium. The other chapter will take most readers aback. Beginning in a popular vein, and even humorously, it turns itself, through two-thirds of its extent, into a dissertation on Kant's philosophy which is one of the toughest things that De Quincey ever wrote. It is probably on this account that the American Collective Edition of De Quincey, while gladly reprinting his Oxford paper, omits this one altogether. That, however, is scarcely allowable. Nor is it allowable to yield to the natural temptation which would suggest the omission of the paper in the place where De Quincey put it, and the reservation of it for some other place in the collection of his writings where it might be in the company of other demons as abstruse as itself. It belongs vitally to the autobiographic series, and to that part of the autobiographic series which deals with De Quincey's Oxford life from 1803 to 1808. It is as if De Quincey had said to his readers-as, in fact, he does virtually say in the paper-" It was during those five years that I betook myself to German studies, and especially to studies in German Philosophy; they had an immense effect upon me at the time, and a permanent influence afterwards;

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