Literature, Language and Culture
Michèle Roberts, the memoirist This second main section is devoted to Paper Houses: A Memoir of the ‘70s and Beyond (2007). As this text takes the form of an autobiography, happening in a particular period of time, I would like to deal with personal and public spheres at the time of writing as a woman. Paper Houses, mainly set in London, will also take the form of a work of fiction. This time, however, past and present, true and false accounts participate in the reader’s perception to tell the story of a woman who is constantly moving places. This woman-writer and protagonist, Michèle Roberts, aims to find a home and, therefore, her identity as a woman and as a professional writer. As Michèle Roberts pointed out in the introduction of Paper Houses, ‘I am a witness, and I am an actor too. Writing this memoir joins up all the scattered bits of me, makes them continuous, gives me a conscious self existing in history’ (6). Roberts’s conscious past becomes constructive and active in this autobiographical work. Her memoir activates the writing process with memory backing it up. The memoirist uses language, autobiography, story-telling, history and fiction to create words that give form to her text. There is a connection between Roberts’s past narratives in the form of diaries, and her new readings of them. The feminist writer rereads her diaries and invents a new identity that it is portrayed in her memoirs from a present perspective: ‘Who...
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