By Martin A. Danahay
Complementing fresh feminist reports of girl self-representation, this publication examines the dynamics of masculine self-representation in nineteenth-century British literature. Arguing that the class "autobiography" used to be a made 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 historical past. 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 kin as symbols for the neighborhood with which they believe they've got misplaced touch. within the theoretical advent, the writer argues that those texts really privilege the self sufficient self over the pictures of neighborhood they ostensibly price, growing 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
9 The same transformation took place in England as in France, but occurred later. When it did occur, this transformation was deeply marked from its inception by a conservative reaction against the French Revolution in particular and social upheaval in general. Nineteenth-century Page 17 British autobiography was a conservative genre that viewed the autonomous individual as a potential source of anarchy and social revolution and therefore valorized a self-repressive subjectivity, as I argue in chapter 3.
The social context of his work is replaced by the domestic setting, which itself is taken to be separate from other public forms of labor. Similarly, in the textual selfrepresentations analyzed in this book, the male authors represent themselves as autonomous and implicitly repress the social context of their labor. Masculine authors represent themselves, in other words, as autonomous individuals. Such representations of autonomy have been characterized by Pierre Bourdieu in Distinction as part of the bourgeois "denial of the social" (Bourdieu 1984, 11).
In this it follows the history of descriptions of nature as opposed to the city outlined by Williams in The Country and the City. Tönnies asserts that community "should be understood as a living organism, society as a mechanical aggregate and artifact" (Tönnies 1963, 35). Society is thus linked to the industrial and artificial, while community represents the "natural" and rural as opposed to the urban and artificial. This image of community is therefore based on a nostalgia for a rapidly disappearing rural existence embodied in the "neighborhood" of the "rural village" (43).
A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Martin A. Danahay