De Quincey's Crazy Body Journal Article uri icon



  • De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater evaluates life from the perspective of digestion instead of cognition. The text mounts a critique of Kant's transcendental philosophy that tests the freedom of reason against the fate of eating. De Quincey's “The Last Days of Immanuel Kant” relates details of the philosopher's life and diet that corroborate this critique. Opium becomes the hero of the Confessions because eating it changes De Quincey physiologically, forcing him to confront the body's materiality. From the opium eater's perspective, the beautiful and the sublime occur as effects, not of representation, but of incorporation, giving rise to the possibility of material thought. A specialized diet also challenges the norms of public medicine, such as those expressed in Thomas Beddoes's Hygiea, which grounds public health in private reflection and responsibility. De Quincey's Confessions affirms a subjectivity that is the effect of daily dosing.

publication date

  • May 1, 1999

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 17, 2015 9:57 AM

Full Author List

  • Youngquist P

author count

  • 1

published in

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0030-8129

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-1530

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 346

end page

  • 358


  • 114


  • 3