Summary of The Poetic Self
In this highly original study of five Romantic poets — Coleridge, Wordsworth, Arnold, Whitman and Baudelaire, the author bring to bear insights drawn from the study of phenomenology. She examines the poetic effort to construct a ‘self,” the task of an age without external guarantees of belief, and the role of the living body in maintaining the integrity of this poetic self. She holds that the body alone allows for an inviolable point of reference, a here and now in terms of which the complex back and forth movements, overlappings and dissolvings of internal time can achieve coherence. Her perceptive readings of the Moderns: Proust, Sartre, Beckett and Robbe-Grillet in particular, provides a frame with which to view the disparate inner worlds, the rich variants of selfhood achieved by the Romantics.