This chapter explores how the theme of the ‘self’ as an autonomous and expressive agent — the ‘Romantic’ self — is produced in texts. A case study of sets of works by Elizabeth Gooch and William Henry Ireland demonstrates that autobiography invokes a self which resists or transcends the transactions in which it is enmeshed. In courtesan autobiographies and slave autobiographies, the rhetorical effects of expressive subjectivity are also set in opposition to the transactions that determine the self and its text. This idea is developed in readings of two of the master-texts of ‘Romantic’ subjectivity, De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and Hazlitt's Liber Amoris.
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