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Fiction and Autobiography

Modes and Models of Interaction


Sabine Coelsch-Foisner and Wolfgang Görtschacher

Both the postmodern debate about the «death of the author» and cultural debates about constructing identities (national, socio-political, cultural, ethnic, sexual, etc.) have led to multiple attempts at redefining autobiography, traditionally predicated on concepts of identity and truth. By bringing together twenty-seven case studies of autobiographical texts from over four centuries and from a variety of cultural (mainly Anglophone) backgrounds, this book demonstrates how fruitful a critical focus on the interaction between autobiography and fiction proves for understanding the complex strategies by which subject positions are established and communicated. The texts examined include: De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes, Anaïs Nin’s diaries, General Sherman’s Memoirs, Abdelkébir Khatibi’s L’Amour bilingue, Nirad Chaudhuri’s Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Helene Deutsch’s Confrontations with Myself, Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe, Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, Graham Swift’s The Light of Day, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, A.S. Byatt’s The Biographer’s Tale, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, and Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road.
Contents: Martin Löschnigg: Narratological Perspectives on ‘Fiction and Autobiography’ – Pascal Nicklas: Autobiographical Counterfeiters: Contextualizing De Quincey and Freud – Leena Kurvet-Käosaar: Tracing Desire in the Diaries of Virginia Woolf, Aino Kallas, and Anaïs Nin – Martina Horáková: Communal Auto/Biographies in Australian Aboriginal Women’s Writing: Sally Morgan’s My Place – Effie Botonaki: The Self and the World in Early Modern English Autobiographical Writings: A Comparative Study of Male and Female Texts – Sarolta Marinovich-Resch: (Self)-Portraits of the Artist as a Young Woman: Representations of the Female Artist in the New Woman Künstlerroman of the 1890s – Nóra Séllei: Confession and Autobiography in Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood – Smatie Yemenedzi-Malathouni: Autobiography Politics in Seventeenth-Century New England – Joseph Eugene Mullin: Sherman Himself in His Memoirs – Christopher Smith: Thomas Hardy’s Enigma Variations: Life, The Life and A Pair of Blue Eyes – Heiko Zimmermann: E.M. Forster’s Autobiographies: Modes of Telling a Life in Fiction – Thomas F. Schneider: Autobiography into Fiction: Attempts at Authenticity in (German) Literature about the Great War – Robert Rehder: What Is the Form of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos? – Alenka Koron: Fiction, Autobiography and Memoir Intertwined: The Writings of Frank McCourt and Lojze Kovačič – Gabriele Linke: A Nation on the Re-Make: Autobiographical Texts from the New Scotland and the Formation of Scottish Identity – David Malcolm: «All is true»?: The Functions of Auto/biographical Materials in John McGahern’s Fiction – Julie Campbell: Life as Art: Autobiography as Artistic Creation in Nabokov’s Speak, Memory – Beatrix Hesse: The «Desire to See the Real Man behind the Author»: Looking for Autobiographical Elements in Vladimir Nabokov’s Fiction – Nephie Christodoulides: The Granite and the Rainbow: Facticity and Ficticity in Helene Deutsch’s Confrontations with Myself: An Epilogue – Sarah Herbe: «Need I say that I am speaking of my own life journey?»: Frances Bellerby’s Autobiography and the Autobiographical Aspect in Her Prose Fiction – Aparajita Nanda: Identity Politics and the Voice of Autobiography in Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe – Gulshan Taneja: Nation, History, Self: The Case of Nirad Chaudhuri – Nina Bosničová: Truth in Richard Wright’s Black Boy (American Hunger) and Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road – Krystyna Stamirowska: Versions of Autobiography in B.S. Johnson’s Novels – Ines Detmers: F(r)iction(s) and F(r)action(s): Ted Hughes’s Imaginary Autobiography in Verse – Merle Tönnies: Radicalising Postmodern Biofictions: British Fictional Autobiography of the Twenty-First Century – Stefan Herbrechter: Auto/bi(o)graphy.