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Picture of Fatal Attractions, Abjection, and the Self in Literature from the Restoration to the Romantics

Fatal Attractions, Abjection, and the Self in Literature from the Restoration to the Romantics

Author(s): Laura Alexander

Book Description

This book examines Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection in several works by early British writers from the Restoration to the Romantic era. This period saw an increased emphasis on understanding the self. Poems with anxious speakers or narratives featuring characters with considerable psychic pressures emerged as writers responded to ideas on consciousness by natural philosophers. The pursuit of self-knowledge also reached greater imaginative depths, inspiring new artistic movements, including sensibility, with its attention to expressions of the suffering self, and the Gothic, a mode of art that examines the self’s deepest fears. Romantic writers theorized about artistic genius, creating a cult of the self that has never left us. Kristeva offers a more complete psychoanalytic vocabulary for understanding the self’s unconscious motivations in literature written during this period, and this book provides readers interested in early British literature, philosophy, and literary theory with a constructive perspective for thinking about literary depictions of the self-in-crisis.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-2810-9
ISBN-10: 1-5275-2810-3
Date of Publication: 01/05/2019
Pages / Size: 118 / A5
Price: £58.99


Laura Alexander is Associate Professor of English at High Point University, USA, where she teaches courses on early British literature and culture, fairy tales, and women writers. She has twice held a national fellowship from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for research at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has written more than thirty articles appearing in various books and journals, including SEL: Studies in English Literature 1600-1900, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research, Papers on Language and Literature, CEA Critic, and English Studies, among others. She is the author of the books Lucretian Thought in Late Stuart England: Debates about the Nature of the Soul (2013) and Dangerous Women, Libertine Epicures, and the Rise of Sensibility, 1670-1730 (2011).