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Title: Debating confession : the poetics of self-expression, 1815-1850.
Author: Hartman, Anne.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3541 931X
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis explores the notion of confession in late romantic poetry from a double vantage point. It investigates contesting discourses of self-representation during the early nineteenth century, while also interrogating the use of the concept of confession in contemporary critical discussions of poetry of the period. I focus upon a series of episodes in late romantic poetry which initiate critique of the confessional, expressive subject through discourses of sensibility and empiricist philosophy, in particular that of Hume and the Common Sense philosophers. The two poets discussed in the greatest detail-Felicia Hemans and Robert Browning-are united by their implicit rejection of an expressive theory of confession and are linked by their closer affinity with the secondgeneration scepticism of Shelley and Byron. Through analysing debates which arose around the introduction of confession in the Church of England in the 184Os, I further inquire how the issues which emerge in the philosophical and literary realms become refigured in later decades in the socio-political realm, taking a particular interest in categories of gender and sexuality. Opening an alternative critical framework for "confessional" poetry overturns generic assumptions, and one goal of the work is to assess how the sceptical, critical tradition initiates a line of aesthetics deriving from Hume, which is particularly relevant for women poets whose work tends to situate itself within an empiricist rather than Kantian aesthetic. Through the interrogation of confessional poetics, I develop a reading strategy out of a theorisation of confession as an intersubjective, critical discursive practice which draws on the work of Foucault, Habermas, and Butler.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available