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Romantic Dialogues: Writing the Self in De Quincey and Woolf

CHEN, HSIU-YU (2013) Romantic Dialogues: Writing the Self in De Quincey and Woolf. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Virginia Woolf has been recognised as a pioneering modernist writer creating a new literary voice. It is not unusual to discover in Woolf’s writings the aesthetic and literary traces of those past traditions and influences which have been woven into her modern narratives. One significant, but often overlooked, influence comes from the Romantic period and the essayist, Thomas De Quincey. De Quincey’s stylish essays inspire Woolf’s art. Both writers’ fascination with representing the self (and their devotion to creating a literary thinking about, and narrative of, the subject) indicates a shared affinity between these two writers in spite of important cultural, historical, and social differences between them. My treatment of the self in De Quincey and Woolf is aware of the aesthetic and literary affinities between them and those cultural and historical differences that divide them. Tracing important connections between these two important writers sheds light on the larger concerns and patterns of both the literary scenes of Romanticism and Modernism.

Six chapters in three sections focus on three main aspects of the self central to De Quincey and Woolf—the art of literature, the representation of time and the question of autobiographical writing. Chapter One and Two investigate De Quincey’s literature of power and Woolf’s art of fiction to examine the relationship between literary representation and the self. Chapter Three and Four discuss issues of time and self in De Quincey and Woolf. The final two chapters contend that De Quincey’s and Woolf’s reflections on literary representation, and time as a philosophical problem are embodied in their writings of the self across their respective literary careers. A project of this kind is alert to and enriches a recent burgeoning critical interest from Romanticists and Modernists alike in the exchanges, interchanges, bequests, and legacies of Romanticism to Modernism.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Jun 2013 11:51

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