Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), poet, philosopher and author of 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater' is an enduring Soho spirit. The Confessions are a masterpiece of autobiography, and perhaps the first literary memoir of an addict. De Quincey is described by his biographer Frances Wilson as a “Romantic acolyte, professional doppelgänger, transcendental hack.” Join us on Saturday afternoon on January 14th for a walk, talk, and drink exploring his life here led by Irish poet and psychogeographer Niall McDevitt.
Huxley, Burroughs, and Trocci all owe their careers to this man described by a New Yorker headline as “The Man Who Invented The Drug Memoir”. Wondering around Covent Garden the young Thomas had his most famous laudanum fuelled revelations, later written up as Confessions Of An English Opium Eater (1821). This revolves most memorably around his friendship with a young sex worker, Ann, who one day missed a meeting at their regular Oxford Street corner, and was never seen again; she haunted De Quincey’s visions throughout his life.
On this January afternoon we’ll meet at the club and drink laudanum, stumble for an hour around these places where De Quincey had his most remembered experiences, then return to discussion, readings, and “a long, loud, and canorous peal of laughter.”