chapter  2
20 Pages

MISSING HER

Many of my explorations of late Victorian Life-writing have been indirectly provoked by Leslie Stephen’s Mausoleum Book. As my introductory chapter suggested, the indirection is the point. With its sidelong glances at alternative auto/biographical forms-at the Symonds memoir, the conversion narrative, the Dictionary of National Biography, the Lives of Fawcett and Fitzjames Stephen and the debate over Froude’s CarlyleStephen’s text illustrates how disconcerting the narration of literary life could be for even its most practised exponent. In this chapter, however, I will attempt to resist Stephen’s deflecting gaze, and look full-square at the Mausoleum Book itself. This is easier said than done. At once biographical, autobiographical and anti-autobiographical, confessional and self-justifying, touchily private and knowingly public, the Mausoleum Book represents literary masculinity at its most refractile.