With its large variety of forms and manifestations, autobiography is every theoretician’s nightmare. Although ubiquitous – few literary creations are truly anonymous – it is also commonly believed to be disappearing into thin air. Leszek Drong argues for the reification of the concept of autobiography, but his argument does not play into the hands of those who favour neat generic classifications. Instead, in
Masks and Icons, the autobiographical is construed as a figure of reading, an interpretive strategy which implicates the reader in a confrontation with her/his own subjectivity. Taking heed of Friedrich Nietzsche’s project, which consisted in ‘giving style to oneself’, Drong explores the modes of self-fashioning in modern autobiographical writings and demonstrates how discursive images of a writer’s ‘I’ affect our self-perception.
Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2001. VIII, 138 pp., 4 fig.
Contents: Modern Autobiography – Representation in Art and Literature – The Crisis of (Post)Modern Subjectivity – Autobiography
and Interpretation – The Truth-value of Autobiography – Iconography of the Self.