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Enigmas of Identity$
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Peter Brooks

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151588

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151588.001.0001

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The Derealization of Self

The Derealization of Self

6 The Derealization of Self
Enigmas of Identity

Peter Brooks

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the importance of the place of the knower in relation to the known, the narrating I to the narrated I, when they are one and “the same” person—whatever that oneness and sameness may mean, which in fact turns out to be problematic. The strange workings of derealization are potentially helpful in understanding some of the writers who undertake to explore the enigma of identity in its peculiarly modern forms. Such writers include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Wordsworth, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, Italo Svevo, and Sigmund Freud. These writers all tend to come upon moments at which introspection, or inquest into the formation of the self, encounters a dissolution or estrangement of self that is somehow key to its understanding.

Keywords:   derealization, identity, introspection, self, self dissolution, self estrangement

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