Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Material TransgressionsBeyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kate Singer, Ashley Cross, and Suzanne Barnett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621778

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621778.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Phantasmion, or the Confessions of a Female Opium Eater

Phantasmion, or the Confessions of a Female Opium Eater

(p.275) Chapter Twelve Phantasmion, or the Confessions of a Female Opium Eater
Material Transgressions

Donelle Ruwe

Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyzes the female opium narrative through a comparison of Sara Coleridge’s children’s novel Phantasmion and the texts of De Quincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Phantasmion, the first fairy tale novel in English, explores the fluidity of the physical body through the travails of its hero, Prince Phantasmion. He metamorphoses into insects, falls into vision states, and finally comes into his own in a climactic scene in which he carries the dead body of his mother out of a sand trap. Part insect narrative, part opium text, and part guilt-ridden maternal autobiography, Phantasmion exemplifies Teresa Brennan’s concepts of entrainment and the transmission of affect. This essay begins with a discussion of the maternal body and opium use, with a focus on Coleridge’s breastfeeding diaries and her verse for children. The second section links the novel’s use of insect poetics and physical metamorphoses to Jane Bennett’s ideas about the vibrancy of matter. The concluding section explores the autobiographical elements of Phantasmion as well as its use of a particular opium involute that was inspired by Martin Dobrizhoffer’s account of his time among the Guarani people of Paraguay. As Coleridge repeats this involute throughout her text, the hero Phantasmion gradually comes to understand his own human frailty.

Keywords:   Sara Coleridge, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, Insect poetics, Opium, Maternal body, Teresa Brennan, Jane Bennett, Dobrizhoffer, Phantasmion

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.