Since the advent of post-structuralism, various authors have problematized the modern conception of autobiography by questioning the status of authorship and interrogating the relation between language and reality. Yet even after making autobiography into a theoretical problem, many of these authors ended up writing about themselves. This paradox stands at the center of this wide-ranging study of the form and function of autobiography in the work of authors who have distanced themselves from its modern instantiation. Discussing Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous and others, this book grapples with the question of what it means to write the self when the self is understood as an effect of writing. Combining close reading, intellectual history and literary theory, The Autobiography Effect traces how precisely its theoretically problematic nature made autobiography into a central scene for the negotiation of philosophical positions and anxieties after structuralism.
Chapter One: The Subject of Autobiography
Copyright and authorship
Return of the referent
The autobiography effect
Chapter Two: Bodies in Crisis
Chapter Three: Eye Problems
Chapter Four: Origin Algeria
Breaking the silence
Chapter Five: How Not to Write about Oneself
Lack of identity (Lévi-Strauss)
Posthumous rereadings (de Man)
The ecstasy of anonymity (Foucault)
The Routledge Auto/Biography Studies book series publishes outstanding new work from preeminent scholars and emerging voices in autobiography, biography, life writing, life narrative, and identity studies. This series is an interdisciplinary project that maintains interest in all forms of auto/biographical narrative analysis related to understanding varied constructions of the self. While centered in literary studies and the larger field of the humanities, books in this series engage with scholars and theories from such disciplines as anthropology, biology, linguistics, pedagogy, psychology, and sociology, among others. The emphasis on exploring the innovative authors, genres, and methodologies of auto/biographical narratives appeals to scholars, students, and practitioners alike. Emerging from Routledge’s longstanding commitment to auto/biography studies, this series makes a substantial contribution to the burgeoning global study of lives and life stories.