De Quincey et la petite fille misérable, d’après Baudelaire

Zhenya Gay - illustration for Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey
Zhenya Gay – illustration pour Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1950) – The Heritage Press, New York

Après le recueil de poèmes Les Fleurs du mal, l’œuvre la plus célèbre de Charles Baudelaire est l’essai Les Paradis artificiels, publié en 1860, consacré à l’usage récréatif des drogues, plus précisément du haschisch et de l’opium. Il connut un large succès, il reste un exposé classique des effets de la drogue, comme l’exaltation, puis la dépendance et la souffrance. D’ailleurs l’expression “paradis artificiels” est couramment utilisée pour désigner l’utilisation de drogues (en particulier hallucinogènes) pour stimuler l’imagination ou enivrer les sens. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

The wretched little girl in De Quincey’s Confessions

Frank Holl - Faces in the Fire
Frank Holl – Faces in the Fire (1867) – The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

The English writer Thomas Penson De Quincey (b. August 15, 1785; d. December 8, 1859) knew fame with his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, published anonymously in two parts in the September and October 1821 issues of the London Magazine, then released in book form in 1822. In 1845, De Quincey published Suspiria de Profundis, advertised as being a sequel to the Confessions. Then in 1856 he revised his Confessions, which became much longer. Since then, the two are usually published together, their complete titles being Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Being an Extract from the Life of a Scholar, and Suspiria de Profundis: Being a Sequel to the “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.” CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

We saw a mermaid, by Graham Ovenden

Today I give a poetic composition by a contemporary British artist. Mostly known as a photographer and painter, Ovenden is also a connoisseur of poetry: for the 7th anniversary post in Pigtails in Paint, he proposed the poem “The Seven Ages of Girlhood” by Ashby-Sterry, which is how I learned about that 19th century poet. Moreover, he also writes some poetry himself, for instance he contributed the poem “A Father to his Seven Year Old Daughter” to that anniversary post. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…