Writing and constructing the self in Great Britain in the long eighteenth century

Edited by John Baker, Marion Leclair and Allan Ingram

Writing and constructing the self in Great Britain in the long eighteenth century


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2336-7
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: October 2018
  • BIC Category: The French Revolution, The Restoration & Later Stuart era (1660–1714), HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Literature, Literature & literary studies / General, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Psychology: the self, ego, identity, personality, Literature: history & criticism
  • Series: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies


The injunction, 'Know thyself!', resounding down the centuries, has never lost its appeal and urgency. The 'self' remains an abiding and universal concern, something at once intimate, indispensable and elusive; something we take for granted and yet remains difficult to pin down, describe or define. This volume of twelve essays explores how writers in different domains - philosophers and thinkers, novelists, poets, churchmen, political writers and others - construed, fashioned and expressed the self in written form in Great Britain in the course of the long eighteenth century from the Restoration to the period of the French Revolution. The essays are preceded by an introduction that seeks to frame several key aspects of the debate on the self in a succinct and open-minded spirit. The volume foregrounds the coming into being of a recognisably modern self.


'The easy-to-follow structure of the volume gives readers the idea of the progress of thoughts in their continuity and helps understand both congruous and controversial ideas. The selection of authors and thinkers represents a kaleidoscope of the self as perceived by contemporaries and reread by twenty-first-century scholars. Writing and Constructing the Self is a must-read for academics and university students who are concerned with the philosophical, literary, historical aspects of selfhood-along with the related notions of self-awareness, subjectivity, the first-person perspective in narratives, self-articulation, and individuality.'
Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (26.1)

'Writing and Constructing the Self contributes an important critical framework and serves as a touchstone for other such focused studies of the eighteenth-century self, and selves. Scholars interested in tracing the influence of Locke's Essay and/or teaching the self to undergraduate or graduate students would find this
book valuable, due to its division into parts and chapters that serve as discussion starters. The book's foregrounding of women such as Haywood and Madame de La Fayette and their characters, alongside male-penned "female selves," renders it an important contribution to feminist literary/cultural studies.'


The written self - John Baker and Marion Leclair

Part I Early modern selves and the Reason v. Passion debate
1. Anne Killigrew, a spiritual wit - Laura Alexander
2. Charitable though passionate creature: the portrait of Man in late seventeenth-century sermons - Regina Maria Dal Santo
3. Self-love in Mandeville and Hutcheson - Jeffrey Hopes
4. Fashioning fictional selves from French sources: Eliza Haywood's Love in Excess - Orla Smyth
5. The death of Cordelia and the economics of preference in eighteenth-century moral psychology - William Flesch

Part II Self-exploration in the Age of Reason: division and continuity
6. 'Chaos dark and deep': grotesque selves and self-fashioning in Pope's Dunciad - Clark Lawlor
7. In two minds: Johnson, Boswell and representations of the self - Allan Ingram
8. 'The Place where my present hopes began to dawn': space, limitation and the perception of female selfhood in Samuel Richardson's Pamela - Barbara Puschmann-Nalenz
9. The discursive construction of the self in Shaftesbury and Sterne: Tristram Shandy and the quest for identity - Gioiella Bruni Roccia

Part III Romantic wanderings: the self in search of (its) place
10. The anxiety of the self and the exile of the soul in Blake and Wordsworth - Laura Quinney
11. Transgressing the boundaries of reason: Burke's poetic (Miltonic) reading of the sublime - Eva Antal
12. Self and community in radical defence in the French revolutionary era: the example of Oppression!!! The Appeal of Captain Perry to the People of England (1795) - Rachel Rogers



John Baker is Senior Lecturer in English at Panthéon-Sorbonne University - Paris 1

Marion Leclair is a doctoral student at Sorbonne Nouvelle University - Paris 3 and a research and teaching assistant at the Université de Cergy-Pontoise

Allan Ingram is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle

Writing and constructing the self in Great Britain in the long eighteenth century

Edited by John Baker, Marion Leclair, Allan Ingram

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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