The History of Henry Esmond extends the intricacies of taking oneself as one's text. As the siren uses female accomplishments and dress to construct herself, so Henry uses the masculine mode of autobiography to write himself.1 His narrative self interprets his younger self just as the narrator interprets both siren and protagonist. The consequence is a novel preoccupied with the possibilities and dangers of self-fashioning. The balance between Henry as narrator and Henry as character, emphasized by the shifts between first and third person, "have the effect of creating a character who is able to reveal his most intimate thoughts and feelings, but who also sees from the outside, describing himself, his appearance, virtues and failings as they would to an impartial narrator".2 But a close reading of Henry's narration questions his "impartiality" to suggest the dangers of this nicely self-contained self construction.