Monday, March 16, 2009

Short quote(s): guilt unacknowledged

Wherein I tried to twitter quote some of the book but the sentences are too damn long

Two from Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey

Sensual pleasure:
If opium-eating be a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in it to an excess not yet _recorded_ {1} of any other man, it is no less true that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a religious zeal, and have at length accomplished what I never yet heard attributed to any other man--have untwisted, almost to its final links, the accursed chain which fettered me.  Such a self-conquest may reasonably be set off in counterbalance to any kind or degree of self- indulgence.  Not to insist that in my case the self-conquest was unquestionable, the self-indulgence open to doubts of casuistry, according as that name shall be extended to acts aiming at the bare relief of pain, or shall be restricted to such as aim at the excitement of positive pleasure.
 
Guilt, therefore, I do not acknowledge; and if I did, it is possible that I might still resolve on the present act of confession in consideration of the service which I may thereby render to the whole class of opium- eaters.  But who are they?  Reader, I am sorry to say a very numerous class indeed.


Lookng to French literature:
Nothing, indeed, is more revolting to English feelings than the spectacle of a human being obtruding on our notice his moral ulcers or scars, and tearing away that "decent drapery" which time or indulgence to human frailty may have drawn over them; accordingly, the greater part of _our_ confessions (that is, spontaneous and extra-judicial confessions) proceed from demireps, adventurers, or swindlers: and for any such acts of gratuitous self-humiliation from those who can be supposed in sympathy with the decent and self-respecting part of society, we must look to French literature, or to that part of the German which is tainted with the spurious and defective sensibility of the French.  All this I feel so forcibly, and so nervously am I alive to reproach of this tendency, that I have for many months hesitated about the propriety of allowing this or any part of my narrative to come before the public eye until after my death (when, for many reasons, the whole will be published); and it is not without an anxious review of the reasons for and against this step that I have at last concluded on taking it.

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