Autofiction is often associated with humour, irony, and play. Moreover, authors of autofictional texts are frequently criticised for a lack of seriousness or for failing to straightforwardly and in their own voice engage with a given topic. Yet very few autofictional texts are exclusively, or even primarily, playful. Many employ humour and irony to address very serious subject matter. This volume explores how these seemingly opposed characteristics of autofictional texts in fact work together. The contributions in this volume show that autofictional texts often make use of humour and play in a productive and meaningful way, tackling issues such as human rights violations, historical and collective as well as personal trauma, and struggle with psychological or physical illness and abuse. On the basis of geographically wide-ranging case studies, including texts from South America, South Africa, the United States, and Europe, this book explores how, in which contexts, and to which effects autofictional texts reveal their authors’ complex and often painful psychological experiences and engage the emotions of their readers.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal Life Writing.
1. Autofiction, Emotions, and Humour: A Playfully Serious Affective Mode
Alexandra Effe and Arnaud Schmitt
2. Avatars as the Raison d’Être of Autofiction
3. The Bronx in Short Trousers: Jerome Charyn’s Mischievous Childhood Recollections in The Dark Lady from Belorusse
4. The Ridiculous Legend of El Gran Vázquez: Self-deprecation and Picaresque in the Autofictional Comics by Vázquez
Alfredo Guzmán Tinajero
5. A Trickster’s Tale: Autofictional Humour in Günter Grass’s Beim Häuten der Zwiebel
6. Gender Tensions, Taboos and Textual Acts in Melina Rorke’s Autofiction
7. Resistance and Desire: Autofictional Satire and Intersubjectivity in Samuel Shem’s The House of God
Jeffrey M. Brown
8. Autofiction and Testimony in Vigdis Hjorth’s Will and Testament
9. Uncovering the Unwritten: A Paratextual Analysis of Autofiction
10. Archival Autofiction in Post-Dictatorship Argentina