"In this brilliantly illuminating book, Nancy Yousef paints a vivid picture of Enlightenment and Romantic thinkers who are differently alive to the conceptual problems, psychic indeterminations, and historical consequences that flow from embracing the fantasy that human beings begin in a state that is radically independent of others. Reading works by Locke, Mills, Rousseau, Shelley, and Wordsworth symptomatically as sites in which this myth of autonomy is by turns critiqued and anxiously reproduced, Isolated Cases seeks to understand the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century roots of the renunciation of origins. Lucid, rigorous, and deeply informed, Yousef's book shows that our close readings of the birth of the self-governed subject have not been nearly close enough."―David L. Clark, Professor, Department of English, and Associate Member, Health Studies Programme, McMaster University
"Nancy Yousef's readings of the 'failure' of autonomy from Rousseau's lonely solitary to the bookish child that was John Stuart Mill, by way of the egotistically isolated Wordsworth and Frankenstein's outcast wretch, point us toward a relational, gendered world of human community that lurks behind apparently solitary minds. This important book analyzes intersections between literature and philosophy that shed light on both disciplines and on our need for relational models of the development of the human subject."―Ashton Nichols, Professor of English Language and Literature, Dickinson College, and author of The Revolutionary"I": Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation
About the Author
Nancy Yousef is Assistant Professor of English at The City University of New York, Baruch College.