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Narratives of the Self

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Edited By Pawel Schreiber and Joanna Malicka

This book explores the many interdependencies and crossovers between living and writing, or, in more specific terms, between writers’ lives on the one hand and their literary output on the other. Thematically divided into four major parts, the book focuses on different literary concerns and discusses literary works from the 17 th century to the present day. The first part approaches the issue of autobiography and biography, the second part takes a close look at travel writing, while the third discusses various lives in fiction and the fourth deals with confessional writing.
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“To suspend disbelief.” Confessional Narrative in Nineteenth-Century and Postmodern Novel

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The title of my paper refers to the 14th chapter of Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in which he proposed the idea of suspension of disbelief. Having recollected the origins of Lyrical Ballads, he noted that:

It was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic; yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. (Coleridge 2001: 677)

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