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Romantic Confession: the case of Thomas de Quincey / Domines Veliki, Martina.

By: Domines Veliki, Martina.
Material type: ArticleArticlePublisher: 2015Description: 55-75 str.Other title: Romantic Confession: the case of Thomas de Quincey [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | Romantic confession, de Quincey, Rousseau engOnline resources: Elektronička verzija In: Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia 60 (2015) ; str. 55-75Summary: In the introductory part of the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), de Quincey makes a distinction between French and English confessional writings by saying that ‘nothing, indeed, is more revolting to English feelings than the spectacle of a human being obtruding on our notice his moral ulcers or scars, and tearing away that “decent drapery” which time or indulgence to human frailty may have drawn over them’. French sensibility, according to de Quincey is ‘spurious and defective’ while the English is always concerned with the constitution of the moral faculties. Departing from de Quincey’s remark and his confessional autobiography, this paper aims to explore the origins of Romantic confessional writing and possible overlapping between Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s and de Quincey’s work. It will also try to locate ‘confession’ within Romantic autobiographical writings, stressing the importance of a truly autonomous subject, fully conscious of his uniqueness. In discussing important criteria through which the Romantic ‘I’ is being constituted, I want to invoke Charles Taylor’s four requirements: to know who you are is to be oriented in a moral space, to be framed by certain universally valid commitments, particular identifications and by one’s social surroundings. Furthermore, in assessing these four requirements, the paper will try to deal with the poststructuralist vein of thinking, departing from Linda Anderson’s contention that ‘autobiography represents a privileged form for a Romantic writer because it confirms his plight: the perplexity of a self forever recasting and repeating itself as text.’
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In the introductory part of the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), de Quincey makes a distinction between French and English confessional writings by saying that ‘nothing, indeed, is more revolting to English feelings than the spectacle of a human being obtruding on our notice his moral ulcers or scars, and tearing away that “decent drapery” which time or indulgence to human frailty may have drawn over them’. French sensibility, according to de Quincey is ‘spurious and defective’ while the English is always concerned with the constitution of the moral faculties. Departing from de Quincey’s remark and his confessional autobiography, this paper aims to explore the origins of Romantic confessional writing and possible overlapping between Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s and de Quincey’s work. It will also try to locate ‘confession’ within Romantic autobiographical writings, stressing the importance of a truly autonomous subject, fully conscious of his uniqueness. In discussing important criteria through which the Romantic ‘I’ is being constituted, I want to invoke Charles Taylor’s four requirements: to know who you are is to be oriented in a moral space, to be framed by certain universally valid commitments, particular identifications and by one’s social surroundings. Furthermore, in assessing these four requirements, the paper will try to deal with the poststructuralist vein of thinking, departing from Linda Anderson’s contention that ‘autobiography represents a privileged form for a Romantic writer because it confirms his plight: the perplexity of a self forever recasting and repeating itself as text.’

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