Victorian Autobiography Criticism: Autobiography And The Self - Essay

Paul Jay (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jay, Paul. “Carlyle and Nietzsche: The Subject Retailored.” In Being in the Text: Self-Representation from Wordsworth to Roland Barthes, pp. 92-114. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984.

[In the following excerpt, Jay outlines Thomas Carlyle's ironic critique of Romantic autobiographical subjectivity in his Sartor Resartus.]

Pity that all Metaphysics had hitherto proved so inexpressibly unproductive! The secret of Man's Being is still like the Sphinx's secret: a riddle that he cannot rede.

—Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus

While The Prelude seeks to enact the...

(The entire section is 7090 words.)

Robert Folkenflik (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Folkenflik, Robert. “The Self as Other.” In The Culture of Autobiography: Constructions of Self-Representation, edited by Robert Folkenflik, pp. 215-34. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Folkenflik studies the treatment of alterity and the self in autobiographical narratives from St. Augustine to Jean-Paul Sartre, with primary reference to several Victorian autobiographers.]

My title may seem to be an abstract version of Rimbaud's “Je est un autre,” and this is certainly a line to which I will return, but what I have in mind, at least initially, is the moment in autobiography in which the subject perceives...

(The entire section is 10856 words.)

Robert D. Aguirre (essay date fall 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Aguirre, Robert D. “Cold Print: Professing Authorship in Anthony Trollope's An Autobiography.Biography 25, no. 4 (fall 2002): 569-92.

[In the following essay, Aguirre probes the relationship between the writer, authorial identity, and the realities of the literary marketplace with regard to Anthony Trollope's An Autobiography.]

Trollope's An Autobiography is an anomaly, a work of self-representation best known for its frank view of the literary marketplace: “Brains that are unbought will never serve the public much” (107).1 Such disquieting candor has led critics to posit not one autobiography but two—the real thing and a...

(The entire section is 9794 words.)