DeQuincey's published work contains about 150 titles, representing articles varying in length from the moderately long novel
(1832) and the historical picture (The
(1832-33), to short sketches such as
In almost all these classes DeQuincey achieved though unequal, success. Popu larly, he is best known by the writings in which he exploited his own life and by the dream prose which resulted from his habit of opium eating. The 'Confessions' is naturally his best known work, but scarcely less in interest are his autobiographical sketches. In all these he reveals himself with singular intricacy and free dom. His dream prose, which has done prob ably more than any other of his writings to make great his name as a stylist, is best repre sented by such remarkable pieces as 'Suspiria de Profundis' (1845), of which the most fa mous is aLevana and the Ladies of Sorrow." All of them are illustrations, as it were, of the states of mind which he describes in the fessions.) Much of the same sort of value at taches itself to the less sensational sketches of his contemporaries, and the instinct of self revelation is here tempered by the addition of brilliant analyses of the characteristics of his great contemporaries for whom he had an in tellectual fondness.
Much of DeQuincey's dream prose is some times included under the head of his narrative writing. His best narrative certainly has the qualities of his imaginative work. In this class are to be found his brilliant 'Three Memorable Murders' with its introductory extravaganza, 'Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts' (1826-27), 'The Spanish Military Nun' (1847), and what is probably, all in all, his masterpiece, 'The English Mail-Coach' (1849). Several of these narrative pieces, like the excellent 'Flight of a Tartar Tribe' (1837), may more properly, as regards subject, be classed as historical writ ings. In all these DeQuincey is always bril
liant and successful. The same, however, can not be said of his attempts to write stories and novels. His essays in this field were all com paratively early, took the form of melodra matic, supernatural tales, like 'The Fatal Marksman'(1823), translations from the Ger man, like 'The Dice' (1823), or of long tur gid romances, like
Of as great importance as the analytical and narrative papers, though not so popularly known, are the biographical and the critical writings. These are hard to separate into dis tinct classes. DeQuincey was too much inter ested in analysis to be a strictly good biog rapher, and whereas the essay on Shakespeare (1838),.for example, is mainly biographical, it rambles into minute questions and contains much matter of a purely critical sort. On the other hand, much of his critical work is in no sense biographical; such are his well-lmown essays on 'Rhetoric' (1828), and