By Scott Hess
Drawing upon historicist and cultural stories ways to literature, this booklet argues that the Romantic building of the self emerged out of the expansion of industrial print tradition and the growth and fragmentation of the interpreting public starting in eighteenth-century Britain. Arguing for continuity among eighteenth-century literature and the increase of Romanticism, this groundbreaking ebook strains the impact of latest print marketplace stipulations at the improvement of the Romantic poetic self.
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Extra resources for Authoring the Self: Self-Representation, Authorship and the Print Market (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory)
49 Anxieties over the spread of reading also generated a heightened sense of differences between various reading publics, as Jon Klancher argues in his groundbreaking study of audience formation, The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790–1832. 52 With these stimuli, the daily circulation of the dominant London daily, The Times, rose from eleven thousand in 1837 to nearly sixty thousand by 1855, and the total circulation of Sunday papers rose at mid-century to around 275,000. 54 The so-called “penny weeklies” began to appear in large numbers, as with the founding of The Penny Magazine, Saturday Magazine, and Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal in 1832, circulating at up to ten times or more the typical three thousand to nine thousand copy runs of the quarterly periodicals at that time.
Though I will discuss poets’ engagement in such practices, I will focus my close reading on the level of particular poems. Formal patterns of meaning and rhetorical constructions emerge at the level of the individual poem which would not otherwise be visible at other levels of reading, and the authorial “self” tends to be constructed somewhat differently in different poems. Most of the poems for which I offer extended readings—including The Dunciad; Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot; Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard; The Minstrel; The Task; and The Prelude—first came into their readers’ hands as individual books, in a single material as well as formal unit.
55 Rousseau here presents himself as the morally responsible author of his own life, and although he justifies himself before God, as the “Sovereign Judge” [souverain juge] and “Eternal Being” [Ètre éternel], he himself takes primary responsibility for his own identity. By baring his soul, Rousseau claims to establish that identity definitively, regardless of any factual mistakes he might make. Moreover, he bares his soul specifically in writing rather than in speech, by bringing his book before this imagined tribunal.
Authoring the Self: Self-Representation, Authorship and the Print Market (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory) by Scott Hess