BiographyAfter completing his education at Harvard University (A.B., 1959; M.A., 1961; Ph.D., 1966), Eakin joined the English Department at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, and taught there until his retirement as Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus of English in 2002. He held three Senior Fulbright-Hays lectureships, teaching American literature at the University of Paris in 1972-73, at the University of Athens in 1978-79, and again at the University of Paris in 1991. He was awarded an ACLS fellowship in 1987, and a fellowship at the Humanities Research Center at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1990.
Eakin was trained as an Americanist specializing in nineteenth-century fiction, the subject of his first book, The New England Girl: Cultural Ideals in Hawthorne, Stowe, Howells and James (University of Georgia Press, 1977). In the 1970s, however, he became interested in autobiography, and eventually published four books about it: Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention (Princeton University Press, 1985); Touching the World: Reference in Autobiography (Princeton University Press, 1992); How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves (Cornell University Press, 1999); and Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative (Cornell University Press, 2008). His most recent book is Writing Life Writing: Narrative, History, Autobiography (Routledge, 2020).
He also edited three volumes concerning autobiography and life writing: On Autobiography, by Philippe Lejeune (University of Minnesota Press, 1989); American Autobiography: Retrospect and Prospect (University of Wisconsin Press, 1991); and The Ethics of Life Writing (Cornell University Press, 2004).
Eakin has lectured on autobiography and life writing not only in the U. S. and Canada, but also in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, China, and Hong Kong. His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese.
For further information, please visit his webpage at Indiana University: https://english.indiana.edu/about/emeriti/eakin-paul-john.html
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
autobiography and life writing, narrative theory, American Literature