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The Custom of the Country
Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin
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Leo Tolstoy, Louise Maude, Alymer Maude

The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction

The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction - Michel Foucault, Robert Hurley Foucault observes in The History of Sexuality, that confession, the trope of autobiography, “unfolds within a power relationship’”(61). The power of authority induces the subject to confess, while the power of the confessor resides in the act itself. Confessors, particularly in autobiography, gain the upper hand by merit of their written confession; they acknowledge their sins, unlike the reader, the hypocrite lecteur.

Confession thus operates like a game of power, allowing the confessor the freedom to select what s/he “brings to light” or to “evade this power, flee from it, or travesty it” (History of Sexuality 45). There is also the pleasure derived from transgressing taboos, the delights afforded from self-exposure—confession’s verbal flash dance that thrives on “showing off, scandalizing, or resisting” (45).

from an earlier publication