Edinburgh Research Explorer

Consuming Autobiographies: Reading and Writing the Self in Post-War France

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherLegenda/Modern Humanities Research Association
Number of pages176
ISBN (Print)9781905981106
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Since 1975, French literary writing has been marked by an autobiographical turn which has seen authors increasingly tap into the vein of what the French term _écriture de soi_. This coincides, paradoxically, with the 'death of autobiography,' as these authors self-consciously distances themselves and their writing from conventional autobiography, founding a 'nouvelle autobiographie' where the very possibility of autobiographical expression is questioned.

In the first book-length study in English to address this phenomenon, Claire Boyle sheds new light on this hostility toward autobiography through a series of studies of estrangement in autobiographical works by major post-war authors Nathalie Sarraute, Georges Perec, Jean Genet and Hélène Cixous. She identifies autobiography as an arena for conflict between writer and reader, in which authors struggle to assert the unknowableness of their identity in the face of a readership eager for privileged knowledge.

    Research areas

  • French autobiography , Cixous , Genet , Perec , Sarraute

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