Originally published in 1991. Addressing the ways in which the ideology of gender and its social construction determine autobiographical self-representations, the essays here consider several women’s works in the light of the social and historical conditions which enabled their production. Some examine diaries as a feminine form and ask about the ways in which thematic content such as childbirth can or cannot be represented in diaries and public discourse at different historical junctures. Others show the pressures of gender roles and how they have led to new genres in which self-representation is often a refraction of the representation of others. With the tools of gender theory, the representation of hermaphroditism, masculinity and male bodies is analysed and the ways in which gender intersects with racial, sexual and class ideologies is also looked at, in seeing autobiography as a form of agency in self-construction.
1. Autobiography and Questions of Gender: An Introduction Shirley Neuman 2. Auto/Bio/History: Modern Midwifery Lynn Z. Bloom 3. Refracting Selves: Kate Millett’s The Basement Jeanne Perrault 4. From the Inside Out: Lily Briscoe a Self Portrait: And Autobiography by Mary Meigs Susanna Egan 5. A Signature of Lesbian Autobiography: ‘Gertrice/Altrude’ Leigh Gilmore 6. Women’s Autobiography: The Self at Stake? T. L. Broughton 7. Engendered Autobiographies: The Diary as a Feminine Form Rebecca Hogan 8. Delivery: The Cultural Re-presentation of Childbirth Cynthia Huff 9. Figuration and Disfigurement: Herculine Barbin and the Autobiography of the Body Roger J. Porter 10. Autobiography, Bodies, Manhood Shirley Neuman 11. Poet and Patriarch in Maxine Hong Kingston’s China Men Joseph Fichtelberg 12. The Autobiographical Manifesto: Identities, Temporalities, Politics Sidonie Smith
Reissuing works originally published between 1960 and 1995, this varied set offers an outstanding collection of scholarship. It includes topics that touch on psychology, feminist criticism, philosophy and litrerary history as well as examinations of autobiography as genre.