By Martin A. Danahay
Complementing fresh feminist reviews of woman self-representation, this ebook 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 heritage. 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 girl fanatics and relatives as symbols for the group with which they suppose they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical creation, the writer argues that those texts really privilege the independent self over the pictures of neighborhood they ostensibly worth, growing within the method a self-enclosed and self-referential "community of one."
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Extra info for A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain
When Oliphant does retire from the communal table and find a solitary space in which to write, she is racked by guilt at being so antisocial (24). Oliphant, unlike Mill or Gosse, Page 8 clearly feels she does not have the right to claim the "human being's privilege to fashion his inner life for himself" but must always define herself in relation to others. The contrast here in terms of gender can also be shown in class terms. The autobiography of George Mockford, an ordinary working man, contains the narrative of a "crisis" similar to Mill's.
Bakhtin in The Dialogic Imagination when he links the emergence of the idea of "landscape" to the construction of a "new private sense of self" in literature in classical times. Bakhtin characterizes this shift in the following terms: A whole series of categories involving self-consciousness and the shaping of a life into a biographybegan to lose their Page 18 public and state significance and passed over to the private and personal plane. Even nature itself, drawn into this private and drawing-room world, begins to change in an essential way.
Despite his renunciation of poetry in favor of prose and social criticism, Arnold still ends up affirming the radical separation of his consciousness from the social. In his preface to the 1853 edition of his Poems, Arnold criticized poetry that exhibited the debilitating effects of the modern "dialogue of the mind with itself" (Arnold 1927, 591). He was criticizing his own poem "Empedocles on Etna," but clearly also meant to condemn any poetry that showed the effects of a "diseased" and exclusively introspective state of mind that has lost contact with "things as they really are'' (195).
A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Martin A. Danahay