First published in 1907, Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son has become a minor classic; yet this study – as Gosse himself defined it – also represents a significant transitional stage towards the literary transformations the new century would soon disclose. It tells of an aesthetic liberation, gradually visualized through diverse art forms, whose scope goes beyond the telling of a coming-of-age story of rebellion against strictly imposed values and opens to the identification of literary expression as emancipation of the self. Still, such thrust towards imaginative creation is hampered by the reticent modes of Victorian autobiography as well as by biblical typological shadows that mask and partly obscure the meaning of artistic and individual independence since Gosse’s celebration of his own escape into art still tastes of temptation and the path towards it constantly (and safely?) rests on creative paradigms deriving from the literary tradition of the past.
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