By Martin A. Danahay
Complementing fresh feminist reviews of girl self-representation, this booklet examines the dynamics of masculine self-representation in nineteenth-century British literature. Arguing that the class "autobiography" used to be 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 reflect for the self. The feminized different in those texts represents the social expense 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 fanatics and kinfolk as symbols for the neighborhood with which they think they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical creation, the writer argues that those texts really privilege the self reliant self over the pictures of neighborhood they ostensibly price, developing within the method a self-enclosed and self-referential "community of one."
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Extra resources for A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Bakhtin characterized as the "dialogic" imagination, an imagination that actively addresses its social milieu and reflects in its language the social conflicts of its day. Bakhtin contrasts the "polyglossia" and "semantic openendedness" of dialogic forms such as the novel with the impulse toward "monoglossia'' in other genres, particularly highly conventional poetry (Bakhtin 1985, 284). While not subscribing to Bakhtin's implicit denigration of poetry in favor of prose, I find that his comments do help elucidate the process that is at work in Victorian autobiography.
As Fox-Genovese points out, the emergence of bourgeois individualism ''occurred in tandem with momentous changes in the social organization of economic production" (Fox-Genovese 1985, 67), and it is in this area that autobiography registers most strongly this kind of transformation. British representations of the self from Wordsworth through to Arnold are mediated through idealized images of nature that the authors oppose to the "mechanical" development of modern industrial society. Community is also linked through Tönnies' conceptions of the "natural will" and the "rational will" with the dichotomies of inner/outer and private/public that I argue in the following pages underlie autobiography.
It was an honor to work with someone who exemplifies some of the best aspects of academic inquiry in both his person and his publications. At Emory I have benefitted from a congenial and stimulating intellectual atmosphere. Jerry Beaty has been willing to share his wisdom both on the subject of the Victorians and of baseball. Our chair, Walter Reed, and the other members of the department in various ways have helped to make my existence more pleasant and finishing this book a less daunting task.