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Thomas De Quincey (1785 - 1859)

Related: Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) - British literature

Contemporaries: E.T.A. Hoffmann - Ingres - Stendhal - Lord Byron - Arthur Schopenhauer - Théodore Géricault

Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) - Thomas De Quincey [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The above edition is by London, Taylor and Hessey, 1823
image sourced here.


Thomas de Quincey (August 15, 1785 – December 8, 1859) was an English author and intellectual, famous for his book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_de_Quincey [Jul 2006]

Art of murder

The idea of the Art of Murder is an expression of the modern notion that art, except for pure esthetics, is amoral, that murders may be dull, mundane and ordinary, or that they may be interesting and beautiful.

One early appreciation of the Art of Murder came from Thomas de Quincey in his essay "On Murder as One of the Fine Arts" (1827). He remarks, cynically and ironically:

If once a man indulges in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.

De Quincey does not object to the apprehension, prosecution, and punishment of murderers, but argues that once the demands of morality have been met, the connoisseur may pause to consider degrees of brutality or finesse in the commission of the crime, just as with any other instance of individual expression.

This idea has inspired at least one actual murder, Leopold and Loeb's killing of Bobby Franks, as well as any number of books and films, including Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope and Meyer Levin's novel and film Compulsion --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_murder [Jan 2005]

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