This book studies three autobiographies, each of which is at least partially devoid of chronological structure: Sartre’s
The Words, Perec’s
W or The Memory of Childhood, and Sarraute’s
Childhood. Calendar-based order, traditionally associated with autobiography, fails to provide the coherence the readers expect. Hence, readers must create a sense of coherence at another level by using their conceptual resources.
Conventional and Original Metaphors in French Autobiography reveals that in these literary texts coherence is maintained based on the exploitation of conventional metaphors taken from everyday language, which the autobiographers transform in a creative yet familiar manner. These common metaphors offer guidance to readers and establish coherence between the shared life experiences of reader and autobiographer. In the course of reading, the autobiographers’ and the readers’ life experiences overlap through familiar metaphors, which serve as organizational devices in writing and as guiding principles in reading.