Women's autobiographies

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The Problem The first question posed by women’s autobiographies is whether in fact such a literature genuinely exists. This question is not as easily answered – or dismissed – as one might think. For all the scientific and philosophical inquiry into what gender is – is it innate or performed, does it constitute a code or a script? – it is still by no means clear what role, if any, gender plays in the way a life is remembered and told. Remembered and told, not lived. Few would bother to dispute that biology and culture conspire to ensure that women experience life differently than men, but there is less agreement about whether women’s autobiographies, while necessarily reflecting their sex, are ultimately defined by it. Nor is it self-evident that women autobiographers feel compelled to devise new forms to express what a woman’s life is and what is learned in living it. Isn’t the last, if not the only droll point of Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Autobiography
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781139235686
ISBN (Print)9781107028104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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