DOI link for Esther's Narrative.
Esther's Narrative. book
that time in my disorder - it seemed one long night... when I laboured up colossal staircases... piled up to the sky... it was such inexplicable agony and misery] The descriptions of Esther’s illness and of her dreams of the staircase and flaming necklace derive from Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater(1821; 1822). At the beginning of his section on The Pains of Opium’, he states that his primary aim in writing the Confessions was to relate his dreams, and he attempts to describe the endlessness of his sufferings under the influence of opium:
I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I could ever reascend. Nor did I, by waking, feel that I had re-ascended. This I do not dwell upon; because the state of gloom which attended these gorgeous spectacles, amounting at least to utter darkness, as of some suicidal despondency, cannot be approached by words.
The sense of space, and in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected ... Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. (1822 edn, 158)