The Autobiography Effect: Writing the Self in Post-Structuralist Theory, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Autobiography Effect

Writing the Self in Post-Structuralist Theory, 1st Edition

By Dennis Schep


280 pages

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Hardback: 9780367330538
pub: 2019-08-09
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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.

Table of Contents



Chapter One: The Subject of Autobiography

Barthes’ anti-authorialism

Copyright and authorship

Barthesian autobiography

Return of the referent

The autobiography effect




Chapter Two: Bodies in Crisis


Metaphor (Nancy)

Contingency (Nietzsche)

Interruption (Ronell)




Chapter Three: Eye Problems

Anthropology (Nietzsche)

Alterity (Derrida)

I (Cixous)




Chapter Four: Origin Algeria


Breaking the silence

Discursive proliferation

L’Allégorie française




Chapter Five: How Not to Write about Oneself

Lack of identity (Lévi-Strauss)

Posthumous rereadings (de Man)

The ecstasy of anonymity (Foucault)




About the Author

Dennis Schep is the author of Drugs; Rhetoric of Fantasy, Addiction to Truth (Atropos Press, 2011), and of many academic and journalistic articles. He received his PhD in literary studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2017. His current focus is on the establishment of the Foundry, a residency for intellectuals and artists in rural Galicia.

About the Series

Routledge Auto/Biography Studies

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. 

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