Reading Romantic Autobiography.
Nineteenth-Century Prose 2001, Fall, 28, 2
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The flourishing of autobiographical writing in something like its modern form--a continuous narrative of individual self-representation - has often been linked, chronologically and thematically (or ideologically), with "Romanticism." Looking closely at the intersection of a genre with a literary environment suggests that the relation between them is never one of equation, as some influential histories of autobiography have claimed. Late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century accounts of autobiography's place in the world of letters (such as the essays by Isaac D'Israeli and John Foster, along with the remarks in the review periodicals) indicate that "Romantic autobiography" is not to do with aligning specific texts with Romantic ideologies of self-presence and individualism; rather, the term describes a tension in the literary field between the idea of the private individual and the processes of publication and circulation. Rouseau's Confessions are a prominent site for the negotiation of these tensions, as is the characteristic Romantic-period accusation that autobiographical writing is "egotistical." Understanding Romantic Autobiography is ultimately a matter of considering how texts appear and circulate in the literary domain, the world of readers, writers, and commentators. **********
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: 22 September 2001
- Publisher: Nineteenth-Century Prose
- Print Length: 44 Pages
- Language: English