This book examines what De Quincey called 'psychological criticism', a mode of studying how 'literature of power' arouses ideas and images dormant in the subconscious. He explores this 'power' by means of an introspective analysis of the effects produced in his own mind by reading Shakespeare and Milton, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Discussion of De Quincey's critical and narrative prose includes his skilled rewriting of a German forgery of a Waverly novel, as well as such better known works as 'Suspiria de Profundis,' Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts.' 'On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth ,' 'The English Mail-Coach,' and ' Wordsworth's Poetry.' New insight into each of these works is provided by drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished manuscripts.