chapter  2
‘Mix(ing) a Little with Alien Natures’
Biblical Orientalism in De Quincey
WithDaniel Sanjiv Roberts
Pages 25

Thomas De Quincey's opium nightmares, reported to sensational acclaim in his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, have become a touch-stone of Romantic orientalism in the wake of Edward Said's seminal work, Orientalism. In his fine study of the scholarly inflections of British orientalism in India entitled Aryans and British India, Thomas Trautmann has shown how British 'Indophobia' of the mid to late nineteenth century had in fact been preceded in the late eighteenth century by what he calls 'Indomania'. Returning then to Trautmann's account of Indomania yielding to Indophobia in the course of the nineteenth century, it is notable that the chief instigators of this movement according to Trautmann were the new evangelical faction of the East India Company and the utilitarians. German critics such as J. D. Michaelis and Johann Gottfried Eichhorn carried the implications of his work even further, downplaying the miraculous aspects of the Bible and explaining these in merely human and historical terms.