By Martin A. Danahay

Complementing fresh feminist reports of lady self-representation, this publication examines the dynamics of masculine self-representation in nineteenth-century British literature. Arguing that the class "autobiography" was once a made of 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 existence background. The masculine autobiographer achieves this autonomy by utilizing 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 fans and kin as symbols for the group with which they consider they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical creation, the writer argues that those texts truly privilege the self sustaining self over the pictures of group they ostensibly price, developing within the procedure 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

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Mill is completely alone, according to his account. Mill's isolation becomes even more apparent if we compare his autobiography to women's and working-class autobiographies of the Victorian period. In Margaret Oliphant's Autobiography, for example, one is continuously made aware of the presence of other people, especially her family. Her attitude toward the constraints laid upon her by the demands of her family is clearly ambivalent; she oscillates between appreciation of their presence and a nagging sense that her professional career has been hindered by their demands.

Bakhtin 1985, 143) Nature, like other ethical, political, and legal categories, is redefined in the nineteenth century in terms of the isolate individual. It is this redefinition of a "whole series of categories" in terms of inward experience that enabled the creation of autobiography as a genre. As both Williams and Bakhtin indicate in their remarks, the history of autobiography in the nineteenth century is bound up with the urbanization and industrialization of the British landscape. By 1860 England had become an urban society, with more than half of its inhabitants living in the cities or their suburbs.

William Spengemann's definition of autobiography is closer to my own than his title The Forms of Autobiography would suggest, since "form" seems a circumlocution for genre. 8 Like Spengemann I would define autobiography in terms of the way the author imagines the relationship between his or her self and an other. As Spengemann (1980) says, in autobiography, "whatever the explicit, sensible referent of any linguistic figure may be, its ultimate and principle referent is the otherwise ungraspable self" (121).

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