Taking into account the popularity and variety of the genre, this collaborative volume considers a wide range of English Romantic autobiographical writers and modes, including working-class autobiography, the familiar essay, and the staged presence. In the wake of Rousseau's Confessions, autobiography became an increasingly popular as well as a literary mode of writing. By the early nineteenth century, this hybrid and metamorphic genre is found everywhere in English letters, in prose and poetry by men and women of all classes. As such, it resists attempts to provide a coherent historical account or establish a neat theoretical paradigm. The contributors to Romantic Autobiography in England embrace the challenge, focusing not only on major writers such as William Wordsworth, De Quincey, and Mary Shelley, but on more recent additions to the canon such as Mary Robinson, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Mary Hays. There are also essays on the scandalous Memoirs of Mrs. Billington and on Joseph Severn's autobiographical scripting of himself as "the friend of Keats." The result is an exploratory and provisional mapping of the field, provocative rather than exhaustive, intended to inspire future scholarship and teaching.

chapter 1|12 pages


Romantic Autobiography In England: Exploring Its Range and Variety
ByEugene Stelzig

part 2|46 pages

Male Self-Fashioning

chapter 7|18 pages

Wordsworth's Cliff-Hanger

ByJoshua Wilner

chapter 8|14 pages

De Quincey as Autobiographer

ByFrederick Burwick

chapter 9|12 pages

The Friend of Keats: The Reinvention of Joseph Severn

BySue Brown

part 3|68 pages

Genres and Modes

chapter 10|16 pages

“I am not what I am”: Staged Presence in Romantic Autobiography

ByStephen C. Behrendt

chapter 11|17 pages

Ned Ludd and Laboring-Class Autobiography

ByKevin Binfield

chapter 12|15 pages

Wordsworth and the Ragged Legion; Or, The Lows of High Argument

ByJasper Cragwall

chapter 13|16 pages

The Intimate Familiar: Essay as Autobiography in Romanticism

ByChristine Chaney