By Martin A. Danahay
Complementing fresh feminist experiences of lady 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 lifestyles background. 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 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 woman fans and family as symbols for the neighborhood with which they think they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical creation, the writer argues that those texts truly privilege the independent self over the pictures of group they ostensibly worth, developing 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
The Prelude does not obey "the law of genre," nor do other nineteenth-century autobiographies. Autobiography is not, therefore a genre in the sense of a distinct form that can be marked off in pristine isolation from other forms of first-person narrative. 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.
A child of the suburbs, Ruskin turns to nature as a way of preserving values he sees as threatened by industrialization and urbanization. " Like Wordsworth, Ruskin used landscape as a way of talking about community, but his idea of the natural repudiated the basis of even his own experience. Like Wordsworth he finds himself reacting against the transformation of the landscape and idealizing a preindustrial rural community. Ruskin's ideal becomes a rural landscape, and a rural community, that no longer exists.
Bermingham says of the new category, "suburb": Its promise of a model community was based on an idealization of individualism and privacy. The suburb was a flight from both the old suffocating hierarchy of the country village and the new bureaucratic impersonality of the city. This rather paradoxical conception of community appeared precisely at the time when England was emerging as a centralized industrial nation. The suburb reflected the increasing tendency for Englishmen to separate their social lives into work and leisure and their social geography into workplace and home.