DE QUINCEY, Thomas (1785-1859). Three autograph manuscripts, fragments of essays on various subjects, drafts with cancellations and emendations, comprising (i) part of an essay on Wordsworth, 2 pages, 4to, numbered '51' and '52' (staining and slight tears to lower margin); (ii) two sections of an essay entitled 'II Literary', beginning 'Have we any current literature at all', , fragments on 3 pages, various sizes, backed onto paper, mounted on blue card; (iii) pages numbered 5-8 of an article referring to 'local nobility', 4 pages, 4to; with a lithograph portrait (foxed).
The first of these manuscripts is perhaps the most interesting, being a fragment of analysis of Wordsworth's character and career, drawing upon personal and family knowledge: De Quincey dates from 1794-5 'the commencement of Wordsworth's entire self-dedication to poetry', and discusses the circumstances of his marriage, and the improbability to his friends of its having come about, 'For we could not conceive of Wordsworth as submitting his faculties to the humilities and devotion of courtship'. The second manuscript is part of an article, discussing the question of whether there is any 'current literature' in 1853. The third is a gossipy piece, giving anecdotes of De Quincey's association with Manners and the Cecils, including the peculiar anecdote of a mistress of Burleigh who had an organ in the house nailed up to prevent any possibility of its being played: 'Defect of musical sensibility is common enough. But absolute hatred of sweet sounds, carried to this extravagant length, I have not elsewhere heard of'. (4)