Essays in Life Writing
This book showcases a unique, innovative form for contemporary life narrative scholarship. Life Narrative is a dynamic and interdisciplinary field defined through attention to diverse styles of personal and auto/biographical narration and to subjectivity and ethics in acts of self-representation. The essay is a uniquely sympathetic mode for such scholarship, responsive to diverse methods, genres, and concepts and enabling a flexible, hybrid critical and creative approach. Many of the essays curated for this volume are by the authors of creative works of life writing who are seeking to reflect critically on disciplinary issues connected to practice, ethics, audience, or genre. Others show academics from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds engaged in creative critical self-reflection, using methods of cultural analysis, ethnography, or embodied scholarship to address foundational and emerging issues and concepts in relation to identity, experience, or subjectivity.
Essays in Life Writing positions the essay as a unique nexus of creative and critical practice, available to academics publishing peer-reviewed scholarly work from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, and a form of scholarship that is contributing in exciting and vigorous ways to the development of new knowledge in Life Narrative as a field.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Life Writing.
1. Writing (from) the Rubble: Reflections on the August 4, 2020 Explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
Sleiman El Hajj
2. Will the Real Subject Please Stand Up? Autobiographical Voices in Biography
3. Speculative Biography and Countering Archival Absences of Women Clowns in the Circus
4. ‘A Man of Violent and Ungovernable Temper’: Can Fiction Fill Silences in the Archives?
Katherine E Collins
5. Killing the Silent Witness: The Benefits of an Authorial Stance as Interpreter in Future- focused Natural Biography
6. How to be a Fan in the Age of Problematic Faves
Matt Bucher and Grace Chipperfield
7. Letter Writing and Space for Women’s Self- expression in Janet Frame’s Owls Do Cry and Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table
8. In Parallel With My Actual Diary: On Re- writing an Exile
9. Metaphor and Neonatal Death: How Stories Can Help When a Baby Dies at Birth
10. Three Wheels on My Wagon: An Account of an Attempt to Use Life Writing to Access Shared Family Narratives After Bereavement
11. Becoming a Traitor
12. My Obscure Career as an Aspiring Poet
13. Archive of the (Mostly) Unspoken: A Queer Project of Caring for the Dead