'My Name to me a Sadness Wears': Self and Other According to 'Diary by E. B. B.'
This paper dwells on the issue of selfhood in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Diary (1831 – 1832). It explores individuation against three major presences in the poetess’s life: her father (and family), Hugh Stuart Boyd, and literature. The employed strategy of research includes a phenomenological (interspersed with feminist touches) focus on select excerpts from the Diary which reveal the writer’s concern for Self as the recognition of the priority of a precursory Other. Observations are made on the limits of human perception, time and space as human variables, the ontological essence of interpretation, and memory as a premise for cognizing life as care. A rare example of prose-fiction in the poetess’s oeuvre, her diary could be read as an instance of simultaneous self-nullification and self-affirmation, which offers possibilities for a dialectical definition of female genius as dialogue through narrative.
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