By Martin A. Danahay
Complementing contemporary feminist stories of lady self-representation, this booklet examines the dynamics of masculine self-representation in nineteenth-century British literature. Arguing that the class "autobiography" was once a fabricated from nineteenth-century individualism, the writer analyzes the dependence of the nineteenth-century masculine topic on autonomy or self-naming because the prerequisite for the composition of a lifestyles historical past. The masculine autobiographer achieves this autonomy through the use of a feminized different as a metaphorical replicate for the self. The feminized different in those texts represents the social fee of masculine autobiography. Authors from Wordsworth to Arnold, together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, John Ruskin, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Stuart Mill, and Edmund Gosse, use lady enthusiasts and relatives as symbols for the neighborhood with which they think they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical advent, the writer argues that those texts truly privilege the independent self over the photographs of neighborhood they ostensibly price, growing within the approach a self-enclosed and self-referential "community of one."
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Additional info for A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain
As Michael Sprinker points out, "Prior to the eighteenth century, works that are today labelled as autobiographies were known as confessions, memoirs, journaux intime"; the emergence of the word autobiography is connected to the emergence of "the concept of the author as sovereign subject over a discourse" (Sprinker 1980, 325). " I use the term individualism here in the sense proposed by Alan Macfarlane in The Origins of English Individualism (1979): It is the view that society is constituted of autonomous, equal, units, namely separate individuals, and that such individuals are more important, ultimately, than any larger constituent group.
However, as Page 6 John Kucich's recent analysis of Victorian fiction (Kucich 1987) has made clear, repression in Victorian texts, far from negating self-consciousness, actually helped produce a distinctive form of subjectivity. Kucich, following Michel Foucault's redefinition of repression in The History of Sexuality, sees repression in the Victorian novel as part of the technology of Victorian subjectivity. The same is true of the role of repression in Victorian autobiography, as I argue in chapters 4 and 5.
English prose literature Men authors History and criticism. 3. Men Great Britain History 19th century Historiography. 4. Men authors, English Biography History and criticism. 5. Masculinity (Psychology) in literature. 6. Autobiography Men authors. I. Title. II. Series. 9'008dc20 [B] 92-38402 CIP 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Page v But man is a true narcissus: he makes the whole world his mirror. (Goethe 1971, 50) Page vii Contents Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 A Room of His Own: The Masculine Subject of British Autobiography 1 Autonomy and Community in Nineteenth-Century British Autobiography 11 From Community to Society: Ferdinand Tönnies and Victorian Subjectivity 20 Inner and Outer in Autobiography 26 Chapter One Autobiography and the Loss of Community: From Augustine's Confessions to Wordsworth's The Prelude 39 Chapter Two The Liminal Subject of Romantic Autobiography 67 Chapter Three Romantic Anti-Autobiography and Repression 93 Chapter Four From Romantic to Victorian Autobiography 117 Ruskin, Tennyson, and the Loss of Nature 117 "A Profound Duplicity of Life": Repression and the Split Subject of Victorian Autobiography 135 Page viii Chapter Five Subjected Autonomy in Victorian Autobiography: John Stuart Mill and Edmund Gosse 147 Chapter Six "Dialogue of the Mind with Itself": Matthew Arnold and Monologism 171 Conclusion Virginia Woolf and the Prison of Consciousness 203 Works Cited 215 Index 227 Page ix Acknowledgments If I were to follow the usual academic paradigms, one person would have to be cited throughout this text.
A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Martin A. Danahay