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Rousseau, G.S. Warman, C. (2002). Writing as Pathology, Poison, or Cure: Henri-Frédéric Amiel's journal intime. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 3(3):229-262.

(2002). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 3(3):229-262

Writing as Pathology, Poison, or Cure: Henri-Frédéric Amiel's journal intime

George S. Rousseau, Ph.D. and Caroline Warman, Ph.D.

This article examines the life and work of Henri-Frédéric Amiel, 19th-century Swiss diarist. It argues that his journal provides an exemplary text through which to examine the issues of pathographesis, or the writing out of illness. Situating the diary within the Romantic contexts of melancholy and self-exploration, it shows that Amiel took themes and genre further than ever before, producing a piece of writing that both defines and creates his ills. Amiel's relationship with his diary is tense and tragic: it is therapy but also poison and comes to embody personal and professional sterility. Thus ideas of pathographesis have to be extended to cover the semitextual limbo in which Amiel subsisted, where “writing out” illness was more fraught than merely “writing about” it.

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