LibriVox: Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey

March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft’s The Crawling Chaos, and discussed in SFFaudio Podcast #138, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey was first published in 1821.

Martin Geeson, the narrator, has written this intriguing mini essay about it for his LibriVox reading.

“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium!”

Though apparently presenting the reader with a collage of poignant memories, temporal digressions and random anecdotes, the Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of all autobiographies. The work is of great appeal to the contemporary reader, displaying a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of its own composition and significance. De Quincey may be said to scrutinise his life, somewhat feverishly, in an effort to fix his own identity.

The title seems to promise a graphic exposure of horrors; these passages do not make up a large part of the whole. The circumstances of its hasty composition sets up the work as a lucrative piece of sensational journalism, albeit published in a more intellectually respectable organ – the London Magazine – than are today’s tawdry exercises in tabloid self-exposure. What makes the book technically remarkable is its use of a majestic neoclassical style applied to a very romantic species of confessional writing – self-reflexive but always reaching out to the Reader.

I’ve combined his narration with two different sets of illustrations and placed the resulting video on YouTube:

LIBRIVOX - Confessions Of An English Opium Eater by Thomas de QuinceyConfessions of an English Opium-Eater
By Thomas de Quincey; Read by Martin Geeson
1 |M4B|, 16 Zipped MP3s or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 16, 2009
First published in September and October 1821 issues of London Magazine.

|ETEXT|

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/confessions-of-an-english-opium-eater-by-thomas-de-quincey.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to TriciaG, Ruth Golding, and Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #138 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft

December 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #138 – The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft, read by Wayne June. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Tamahome, Jim Moon and Wayne June). Here’s the ETEXT.

“In The Crawling Chaos the narrator flees inland, taking his adjectives with him.” -L. Sprague de Camp (from Lovecraft: A Biography)

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne June is still alive!, first impressions of The Crawling Chaos, Wikipedia’s plot summary of The Crawling Chaos, dream logic, an opium vision, the tripiness, the philosophy behind The Crawling Chaos, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe, the self as a haunted palace, Poe is so 19th century, The Raven, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, entropy, there is no meaning in this uncaring universe, “and all the planets mourned”, you’d need a lot of Prozac (or opium) to go through a life like that, the catharsis of apocalypse, a cosmic apocalypse, the plot is a jumble of junk, the biblical echoes, “only the gods reside there” (in Teloe), a very old testament vibe, “lest you turn into a pillar of salt”, the protagonist is us (mankind), Lovecraft’s recurring themes, the ordinary man who swaps places with another, The Shadow Out Of Time, Polaris, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, transcendental mind-swap stories, the story was a pseudonymous collaboration between Elizabeth Berkley (aka Winifred V. Jackson) and Louis Theobald, Jun. (aka H.P. Lovecraft), Nyarlathotep, “send me some money”, a lot of dross with a powerful effect, “the year of the plague”, the “oriel window” is an eyeball!, “calm down Howard”, “he’s in his own brain”, who or what is “the crawling chaos”?, the ocean pounding is his heart beating, “We’re all doomed!”, what is the crawling chaos?, S.T. Joshi, Rudyard Kipling, the peninsular beach house, Tiger Tiger (from The Jungle Book), The Tyger by William Blake, is the beautiful youth Mowgli?, who are “they”?, a fawn faced youth, Weena from H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, did Winifred read The Time Machine before sleep?, what is the meaning of “Teloe”? is it teleology, reaching for meaning or purpose and losing it, Amber and Chalcedony, pleasure barges bound for blossomy Cytheron, Liquid Gold, Lord Dunsany, the heavenly host, the destruction of the physical (the corpse-like clay), black clouds like vultures, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear”, City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe, opium addiction, why opium?, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey, Charles Baudelaire, a waking dream, if the story was written in the 1960s…, LSD, morphine and Morpheus (dream), a waking dream, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, The Doors Of Perception, out of Plato’s cave, Philip K. Dick, mindset and environment, mescaline, dreams vs. drug trips, journeys into the unconscious, Mouthpiece by Edward Wellen, decoding the death ravings of Dutch Schultz (HERE), William Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, “French Canadian Bean Soup”, stream of unconsciousness, Frances vs. French people, “swimming through New York”, The Librarian TV series, “perfectly ordinary strange adventures”, puns are big for the subconscious, Samuel R. Delany, Groucho Marx.

The Tyger by William Blake

The United Co-Operative, April 1921 - The Crawling Chaos

Posted by Jesse Willis