Autobiography as a Writing Strategy in Postcolonial Literature
Autobiography, a fully-recognised genre within mainstream literature today, has evolved massively in the last few decades, particularly through colonial and postcolonial texts. By using autobiography as a means of expression, many postcolonial writers were able to describe their experiences in the face of the denial of personal expression for centuries. This book is centred around the recounting and analysis of such a phenomenon.
Literary purists often reject autobiography as a fully-fledged literary genre, perceiving it rather as a mere life report or a descriptive diary. The colonial and postcolonial autobiographical texts analysed in this book refute such perceptions, and demonstrate a subtle combination of literary qualities and the recounting of real-life experiences.
This book demonstrates that colonial and postcolonial autobiographical texts have established their ‘literarity’. The need for postcolonial authors to express themselves through the ‘I’ and the ‘me’, as subjects and not as objects, is the essence of this book, and confirms that self-affirmation through autobiographical writing is indeed an art form.
Benaouda Lebdai is a specialist in colonial and postcolonial literatures written in English and French. He has published extensively on African writers such as Chinua Achebe, Peter Abrahams, J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Zoë Wicomb, Ngugi Wa Thiong’ O, Ayi Kwei Armah, Okot p’Bitek, Rachid Boudjedra, Assia Djebar, Albert Camus, Frantz Fanon and Winnie Mandela, and on trans-Atlantic slave trade narratives. His critical approach brings together history, gender, identity, migration, and postcoloniality. He has organised international conferences on colonial and postcolonial literatures in France, Algeria and the United States of America. He has previously taught Comparative African Literature at Algiers University, Algeria, and at Angers University, France. He is currently Professor at the University of Maine, Le Mans, France.
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