The Romantic Art of Confession

September 1998
224 pages
22.8x15.2 in
Comparative Literature
ISBN: 9781571131898
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004120, LIT004150

The Romantic Art of Confession

De Quincey, Musset, Sand, Lamb, Hogg, Frémy, Soulié, Janin

Susan M. Levin

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A fascinating analysis of major works of European Romanticism entitled "confessions."
The Romantic Art of Confession is about works specifically entitled 'confessions' written during the Romantic period in Britain and France: Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Alfred de Musset's Confession d'un enfant du siècle, and James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinnerare among the works studied. Professor Levin argues that such works share a number of characteristics: they appropriate a religious form, they have narrators (confessors) who are outcasts and with whom the authors identify, and they focus on specific problems -- opium addiction, alcoholism, illegitimacy -- that suggest broader issues. Each of the book's chapters considers a confessional work as representative of the concerns of autobiographical discourse in general and of the form of the Romantic confession in particular, drawing on the procedures of post-structural critics and upon the psychological and feminist theories of Lacan and Chodorow.


'Levin's book is clearly written, and she wears her learning lightly, using post-structuralist theory and the psychological and feminist writings of Jacques Lacan and Nancy J. Chodorow without descending into jargon. She succeeds in identifying and illuminating an interesting sub-genre of Romantic writing.' TLS
'Levin draws on contemporary literary theory but her approach is refreshingly text-based and her expression agreeably lucid.' MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW 'Levin writes with particular subtlety... An important contribution to the study of genre and Romantic prose literature.' STUDIES IN HOGG AND HIS WORLD

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