Commerce, Genius and De Quincey’s Literary Identity

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In his magazine essays in the 1820s, Thomas De Quincey offers himself as a genius whose status is assured by his distance from the commercial market. Such cultural maneuvering is representative of a strain in Romanticism that has been stridently critiqued in New Historicist criticism in the last twenty-five years. The very insistence with which De Quincey made such claims tended to characterize him as a magazine “personality,” providing a legible, and hence saleable, commercial product. The effort was paradoxical from the first. By insisting on his separation from the print market, De Quincey integrated himself into it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-789
JournalStudies in English Literature, 1500-1900
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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