Men of Letters, Writing Lives: Masculinity and Literary Auto/Biography in the Late-Victorian Period

Synopsis

Trev Lynn Broughton takes an in-depth look at the developments within Victorian auto/biography, and asks what we can learn about the conditions and limits of male literary authority. Providing a feminist analysis of the effects of this literary production on culture, Broughton looks at the increase in professions with a vested interest in the written Life; the speeding up of the Life-and-Letters industry during this period; the institutionalization of Life-writing; and the consequent spread of a network of mainly male practitioners and commentators. This study focuses on two case studies from the period 1880-1903: the theories and achievements of Sir Leslie Stephen and the debate surrounding James Anthony Froude's account of the marriage of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle.