Victorian life-writings do a great deal more than narrate lives or describe selves. Life-writers intervened in and helped to shape contemporaneous debates about the meaning and constitution of selfhood; they posed questions about the nature of individualism and individuality; they explored the cultural uses of publicity, privacy, intimacy and sociability; they investigated the production and commodification of identity; they sometimes even experimented with ideas of an embodied self. Focussing mainly on autobiographical rather than biographical writing, and offering Harriet Martineau’s practice as a case study, this essay first outlines early approaches to the genre, before identifying some recent critical currents.
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 24 Dec 2018|