ANNA JANE BARTON A kind of waking trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has generally come upon me thro' repeating my own name two or three times to myself silently, til all at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction but the only true life.1 ennyson's ability to put himself into a trance through the repetition of his own name is one of a number of autobiographical vignettes incorporated by his son into the first biography of the poet. By describing the dissolution of individuality into "boundless being," he consciously sets up a poetic that is hard to resist. A name, as the verbal and textual signifier of individual consciousness, works paradoxically as both the link and the barrier between inner self and external reality, figuring the
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
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