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«I Write Therefore I Am?»

Fictional Autobiography and the Idea of Selfhood in the Postmodern Age

Regine Hampel

Taking as its point of departure the remarkable increase in the production of fictional autobiographies in Britain and Ireland over the last thirty years, this book sets out to explore the historical, philosophical and literary context motivating and shaping such an increase. It seeks to show that as a result of the epistemological crisis of the 20 th century and of the consequent assault on traditional modes of representation, writers began to look for alternative textual spaces and narrative forms which would allow them to highlight the constructed nature of identity and selfhood. The contention is that fictional autobiography is particularly suitable for postmodern needs, since it explores the relationship between text and reality and focuses on language as mediator between the two.
Contents: Fictional Autobiography – Theories of the Self – Autobiography and Fiction – Narratology – Poststructuralism – Fictional Autobiographies in the 20th Century – Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children – Graham Swift, Waterland – Julian Barnes, Talking It Over – Angela Carter, Wise Children – John Banville, Ghosts.