Catalogue


Autobiographical writing and British literature, 1783-1834 /
James Treadwell.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2005.
description
xi, 256 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0199262977 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2005.
isbn
0199262977 (hbk.)
catalogue key
5355378
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-11-01:
Treadwell's book will find readers among those interested in British Romanticism, literary history, and critical theory. In the first section, "Prescriptions," Treadwell (formerly, McGill Univ.) offers an interesting history of autobiography as a genre, placing its rise in the context of the prevailing concerns of Romantic literature. The author's central insight is that self-writing takes on the particular ethical and rhetorical features of what scholars now recognize as autobiography only when the work enters the public domain. Private journals not intended for publication do not create the same issues for writer and reader, but once the writer places his or her life before the public, the work enters the sphere of what--in the period Treadwell discusses--became a new genre, with its transgressive gesture of self-revelation. Treadwell locates Jean-Jacques Rousseau's posthumously published Confessions as seminal in this tradition and then examines Coleridge's great and flawed Biographia Literaria, Byron's Childe Harold, and Lamb's Essays of Elia. In so doing, he pushes the idea of autobiography past its usual place in prose nonfiction. His discussions of Byron's dynamic act of self-creation and Lamb's complex use of an alter ego make for particularly lively, fascinating reading. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. S. F. Klepetar St. Cloud State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A closely reasoned book."--Elizabeth Helsinger, Studies in English Literature
"A closely reasoned book."--Elizabeth Helsinger,Studies in English Literature
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2005
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The word 'autobiography' is a late 18th century coinage; yet by 1826 it was used as the title for a multi-volume anthology of self-writing, and in 1834 Thomas Carlyle wrote of 'these autobiographical times of ours'. This text provides a study of the phenomenon, examining both the conditions and the practice of autobiographical writing.
Main Description
The word 'autobiography' is a late eighteenth-century coinage; yet by 1826 it was used as the title for a multi-volume anthology of self-writing, and in 1834 Thomas Carlyle wrote of 'these Autobiographical times of ours'. Over the course of those few decades, readers and writers came torecognize and name a new genre. This book is the first full study of the phenomenon, examining both the conditions and the practice of autobiographical writing in Romantic literature.Historians of autobiography have often pointed to the turn of the nineteenth century as a pivotal moment. In Rousseau and De Quincey's 'Confessions', Wordsworth's 'Prelude', and other canonical documents, it has been argued, self-writing begins to serve the purpose of expressing the individuality,autonomy, and interiority of the self. A more wide-ranging view of the actual state of autobiography at the time exposes this narrative as a misrepresentation. Self-writing does gain a new kind of prominence around 1800; not, however, because it articulates 'Romantic' ideologies of selfhood, butbecause it becomes a focus of scrutiny, and of contention. The decades of the Romantic period identified themselves as 'Autobiographical times' -- but did so anxiously. This book asks: what forms did that recognition and that anxiety take within the literary culture of the period? What didautobiography mean to Romantic readers and writers? How do autobiographical texts of the period reflect, express, and negotiate these conditions?As well as reading a wide variety of those documents, with single chapters devoted to works by Coleridge, Byron, and Lamb, Treadwell examines writing on and around autobiography: essays, reviews, and other forms of commentary. By preserving a continuous relation between the texts and theircontexts, this book offers the first proper study of what is actually meant by 'Romantic autobiography'.
Main Description
What did autobiography mean to Romantic readers and writers? How do autobiographical texts of the period reflect, express, and negotiate these conditions? Answering these questions and more, James Treadwell examines a wide variety of Romantic texts, with single chapters devoted to works by Coleridge, Byron, and Lamb. By preserving a continuous relation between the texts and their contexts, this book offers the first proper study of what is actually meant by "Romantic autobiography."
Table of Contents
The rise of 'autobiography'p. 3
The case of Rousseaup. 32
Autobiography and the literary public spherep. 59
Autobiography and publicationp. 95
Biographia literariap. 124
Autobiographical transactionsp. 153
Childe Harold canto IIIp. 181
Eliap. 209
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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