The Routledge Auto Biography Studies Reader  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Auto Biography Studies Reader

ISBN 9781138904781
Published November 22, 2015 by Routledge
352 Pages

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Book Description

The Routledge Auto|Biography Studies Reader collects together key theoretical essays in the field, creating a solid base for any critical study of autobiography, biography, or life writing.

Beginning with a foreword by Sidonie Smith and a general introduction to the collection, the book is then divided into three sections—Foundations, Transformations, and Futures—each with its own introduction. Significant themes weave throughout the sections, including canonicity; genre, modality, and interdisciplinarity; reclamation of texts; disability and the contested body; trauma; agency, silence, and voicing; celebrity culture; digital lives; subjects in the margins; postcolonialism; posthumanism; and, ecocriticism. Attention has also been given to a variety of methodological approaches, such as archival research, genealogical study, DNA testing, autoethnography, testimonio, and oral history, among others.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Sidonie Smith

General Introduction, Ricia Anne Chansky

Part 1: Foundations

Foundations Introduction, Ricia Anne Chansky

1. Autobiography and the Cultural Moment: A Thematic, Historical, and Bibliographical Introduction, James Olney

2. Conception and Origin of Autobiography, Georg Misch

3. Conditions and Limits of Autobiography, Georges Gusdorf

4. Autobiography as De-facement, Paul de Man

5. The Autobiographical Pact, Philippe Lejeune

6. Design and Lie in Modern American Autobiography, Timothy Dow Adams

7. Is There a Canon of Autobiography?, Eugene Stelzig

8. Reflections of a Reluctant Anthologist, Arnold Krupat

9. Forgotten Voices of Afro-American Autobiography, 1865–1930, William L. Andrews

10. Between Lines: Constructing the Political Self, Magdalena Maíz Peña and Luis H. Peña

11. The Impact of Critical Theory on the Study of Autobiography: Marginality, Gender, and Autobiographical Practice, Sidonie Smith

12. Whose Life Is It Anyway? Out of the Bathtub and into the Narrative, Marlene Kadar

13. Autopathography: Women, Illness, and Life-writing, G. Thomas Couser

14. Biography and Autobiography: Intermixing the Genres, Lois W. Banner

15. Ordering the Family: Genealogy as Autobiographical Pedigree, Julia Watson

Part 2: Transformations

Transformations Introduction, Ricia Anne Chansky

16. Kathie Lee Gifford and the Commodification of Autobiography, Martin Danahay

17. Transforming the Tale: The Auto/body/ographies of Nancy Mairs, Susannah B. Mintz

18. Memorializing Memory: Marlon Riggs and Life Writing in Tongues Untied and Black Is Black Ain’t, Harvey Young

19. Telling Tales: Brandon Teena, Billy Tipton, and Transgender Biography, Jack/Judith Halberstam

20. Limit-Cases: Trauma, Self-Representation, and the Jurisdictions of Identity, Leigh Gilmore

21. Authoring Ethnicized Subjects: Rigoberta Menchú and the Performative Production of the Subaltern Self, Arturo Arias

22. Recasting Indigenous Lives along the Lines of Western Desire: Editing, Autobiography, and the Colonizing Project, Alison Ravenscroft

23. Constructing Female Subjects in the Archive: A Reading of Three Versions of One Woman’s Subjectivity, Helen M. Buss

24. Out of Place: Extraterritorial Existence and Autobiography, Alfred Hornung

25. The Incomplete Return, Isabelle de Courtivron

26. Letters as/not a Genre, Margaretta Jolly and Liz Stanley

27. Are Memoirs Autobiography? A Consideration of Genre and Public Identity, Julie Rak

28. Autographics: The Seeing "I" of the Comics, Gillian Whitlock

29. What Are We Reading When We Read Autobiography?, Paul John Eakin

30. Autobiography and the Limits of Moral Criticism, Charles Altieri

Part 3: Futures

Futures Introduction, Ricia Anne Chansky

31. Family Matters, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

32. Living Autoethnography: Connecting Life and Research – Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Kathy-Ann C. Hernandez, and Heewon Chang

33. Cultural Ecology, Literature, and Life Writing, Hubert Zapf

34. His Master’s Voice: Animalographies, Life Writing, and the Posthuman, Cynthia Huff and Joel Haefner

35. Engendering an Alternative Approach to Otherness in African Women’s Autobiography, Folasade Hunsu

36. Subjects in the Margins, Leonor Arfuch

37. Memoirs of Return: Saidiya Hartman, Eva Hoffman, and Daniel Mendelsohn in Conversation with Nancy K. Miller, Nancy K. Miller

38. The Generation of Postmemory, Marianne Hirsch

39. Comics Form and Narrating Lives, Hillary Chute

40. Digital Biography: Capturing Lives Online, Paul Longley Arthur

41. Celebrity Bio Blogs: Hagiography, Pathography, and Perez Hilton, Elizabeth Podnieks

42. Cyberrace, Lisa Nakamura

43. Faith, Doubt, and Textual Identity, Susanna Egan

44. Making the Case for Self-narration Against Autofiction, Arnaud Schmitt

45. Genetic Studies of Life Writing, Philippe Lejeune

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Ricia Anne Chansky is Associate Professor of Literature at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She is the co-editor of the scholarly journal a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and editor of the forthcoming volumes Auto/Biography in the Americas: Relational Lives and Auto/Biography across the Americas: Transnational Themes in Life Writing. She also founded the International Auto/Biography Association – Chapter of the Americas.

Emily Hipchen is Professor of Writing at the University of West Georgia, USA. She is co-editor of the journal a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and co-editor of the volume Inhabiting La Patria: Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez.

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Ricia Anne Chansky

Ricia Anne Chansky

Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mayaguez, PR, USA

Learn more about Ricia Anne Chansky »


"The Reader’s credentials are impeccable, with a foreword by Sidonie Smith, contributions from key figures in the field such as James Olney, and the inclusion of other seminal work including Paul de Man’s "Autobiography as De-Facement." This is, then, a diverse and far-reaching approach to the topic: comics crop up in more than one chapter, and the book is able to boast a wide range of methodologies and themes, including interdisciplinarity, disability, agency, celebrity, and even genealogical approaches and DNA testing. This is a highly enjoyable and engaging study which takes in a variety of contrasting texts." - Forum on Modern Language Studies

 "The Routledge Auto/biography Studies Reader is timely, dense and provocative, and a thoroughly worthwhile endeavour." - Trev Lynn Broughton, Life Writing

"Chansky and Hipchen offer carefully edited and organized selected essays tracing key debates in a one-stop volume that marks the multidisciplinary, multimediated direction of the field." - Margaretta Jolly, Oxford Bibliography of Biography and Autobiography