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Picture of Writers' Biographies and Family Histories in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature

Writers' Biographies and Family Histories in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature

Editor(s): Lucie Guiheneuf, Aude Haffen

Book Description

New creative forms of life writing have emerged over the past four decades. Following in the footsteps of the “New Biographers,” who more than half a century earlier had trusted art and imagination to uncover some truth about a singular existence, some late-twentieth and twenty-first century novelists, playwrights and essayists staged the lives of writers they loved, wanted to vindicate, or whose influence they needed to acknowledge and ward off. In other cases, they turned to another sort of genealogy and, blurring the lines between biography and autobiography, told the story of their parents’ lives.

This volume includes ten essays on American, British and Canadian writers’ biographies and family histories, ranging, chronologically speaking, from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928) to Lila Azam Zanganeh’s The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness (2011). The connection between biography and fiction is explored, and analysed in the light of different veins of postmodernism—ludic, nostalgic and subversive. The contributors give pride of place to those biographical enterprises in which generic distinctions yield to transgeneric recompositions, ontological frontiers are crossed, genders are queered, women artists empowered, and the creating subject revealed to be fundamentally elusive and plural.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-0534-6
ISBN-10: 1-5275-0534-0
Date of Publication: 01/02/2018
Pages / Size: 189 / A5
Price: £58.99


Aude Haffen, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in British Literature at University Paul Valéry-Montpellier III, France. Her research interests are auto/biography, biofiction and autofiction, with a special focus on 1930s literature. She has published several articles on the fiction, letters and auto/biographical writings of 19th- to 21st-century authors, including Thomas De Quincey, Christopher Isherwood and Anthony Burgess.

Lucie Guiheneuf, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in literary classes preparing for the Écoles Normales Supérieures at Saint-Exupéry High School, Mantes-la-Jolie, France. Her research interests are life writing and modernist female writing. She wrote her PhD dissertation on “Identity, Space and Discourse in Bryher’s Autobiographical Writing and Fiction.”