Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Manchester Grammar School

*Manchester Grammar School. School in the city of Manchester in England that is roughly equivalent to an American prep school. There, the adolescent Thomas De Quincey’s already delicate health is strained by the arduousness of his experience and his boredom with the school environment and his guardians and mentors. He begins grappling with his health problems and bodily pains, especially of the liver. The gloomy climate and rains of Manchester make his educational experiences even more dismal. After some deliberation, he resolves to leave the school and becomes a vagrant.


*London. Capital city of Great Britain in which De Quincey eventually settles after running away from Manchester Grammar School. Getting by on borrowed money, he lives precariously by wandering cold streets by night and sleeping by day. His poor health and disillusionment grow, forcing him to live frugally and in a period of intellectual decline and aimlessness. Despite being Britain’s greatest city, London does not improve De Quincey’s outlook on life or his prospects.

*Worcester College

*Worcester College (WEW-ster). College of Oxford University in which De Quincey enrolls at the urging of his family. While developing a deep interest in German philosophy and literature at Oxford, De Quincey begins using opium, initially for medicinal purposes, to ease his physical pains, but he...

(The entire section is 406 words.)