Five Questions: Robert Morrison on the Regency and Thomas De Quincey

By Matthew Sangster

Robert Morrison is currently a British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University and Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is a leading expert on Thomas De Quincey and Romantic-period periodical culture and has published major editions of works by writers including De Quincey, Leigh Hunt, Jane Austen and John Polidori, as well as numerous essays on topics including magazine writing, John Galt, William Blackwood and twentieth-century music. His biography of Thomas De Quincey, The English Opium Eater, was published in 2009. Below, we discuss two books that he published last year: the 21st-Century Oxford Authors edition of Thomas De Quincey (Oxford University Press) and The Regency Revolution (Atlantic Books; published by W.W. Norton as The Regency Years in North America).

1) How did you first become interested in Thomas De Quincey?

My interest in De Quincey began at Oxford, where I did my M.Phil. degree in Romanticism under the supervision of Jonathan Wordsworth. In Hilary term of my first year, Jonathan asked me to write an essay on each of the four major non-fiction prose writers: De Quincey, William Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, and …read more