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Exploring the Myth of the Proper Writer: Jenny Diski, Montaigne and Coleridge
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (English)In: Trans: Revue de Littérature Générale et Comparée, ISSN 1778-3887, Vol. 15Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Framed by two quotations from Western literary tradition, this article examines the changeable dialogue of British writer Jenny Diski with two of her self-appointed literary forerunners: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Michel de Montaigne. In On Trying to Keep Still (2006), a book of literary nonfiction, Diski sets out on a two-month journey to live in an isolated cottage in Quantock Hills, Somerset. Her aim is to enact the role of the solitary, self-reflective writer and to explore the spaces, imagery and supposed behaviour attached to it. In relating her experience, Diski responds to a key myth of the Romantic period, the idea of solitary inspiration in nature, prefigured already in the solitude of the Renaissance writer in his famous tower. The purpose of the article is to illustrate how this dialogue serves by way of integration into a cultural tradition, and to show how Diski’s response is portrayed in various ways, from affectionate appropriation over ironic reduction to dismissal and renegotiation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2013. Vol. 15
Keyword [en]
Jenny Diski, Coleridge, Montaigne, solitude, writing
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89266DOI: 10.4000/trans.751OAI: diva2:607566
Available from: 2013-02-25 Created: 2013-02-25 Last updated: 2013-03-05

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Eldelin, Emma
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Department of Culture StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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ReferencesLink to record
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