debuts of the month
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Subjectivity by Ruth Robbins


Subjectivity by Ruth Robbins

Who do you think you are? In Subjectivity, Ruth Robbins explores some of the responses to this fundamental question. In readings of a number of autobiographical texts from the last three centuries, Robbins offers an approachable account of formations of the self which demonstrates that both psychology and material conditions - often in tension with one another - are the building blocks of modern notions of selfhood. Key texts studied include:- William Wordsworth's Prelude- Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Oscar Wilde's De Profundis- Jung Chang's Wild SwansRobbins also argues that our subjectivity, far from being the secure possession of the individual, is potentially fragile and contingent. She shows that the versions of subjectivity authorized by the dominant culture are full of gaps and blindspots that undo any notion of universal human nature: subjectivity is culturally and historically specific - we are, in part, what the culture in which we live permits us to be.Concise and easy-to-follow, this introduction to the concept of subjectivity, and the theories surrounding it, shows that, in spite of the insecurity of selfhood, there is still much to be gained from the textual encounter with other selves. It is essential reading for all those studying 'autobiography' or 'autobiographical writing'.

About the Author

RUTH ROBBINS is Senior Lecturer in English Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. She is the author of Literary Feminisms and Pater to Forster, 1873-1924, both also in the Palgrave Macmillan Transitions series.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

21st April 2005


Ruth Robbins

More books by Ruth Robbins
Author 'Like for Like'


Palgrave Macmillan


232 pages


Literary theory



Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

The best new books on the market, reviewed honestly, to give your readers the best choices.

Julie Cook

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

The selections are so varied and the reader reviews are so helpful. A fantastic website for those who love books.

Ann Quintilla

Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch