March 7, 2017

Autobiography by Linda Anderson

By Linda Anderson

This addition to the acclaimed New serious Idiom sequence deals a wide-ranging advent to the research of autobiography and a historic assessment of autobiographical writing from St Augustine to the current day.Autobiography follows the $64000 advancements in autobiographical feedback within the final thirty years, paying specific consciousness to psychoanalytic, poststructualist and feminist ways. Autobiography:* outlines the most theoretical matters and ideas of this zone* seems to be on the assorted kinds from confessions to narratives to memoirs to diaries* considers the key writers of this custom* seems on the ideological assumptions concerning the nature of the self.

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As we have seen, Paul de Man has argued that it is precisely the ‘specular moments’ when an author becomes the subject of his own understanding that he must also depend on the trope or rhetorical figure of prosopopoeia or personification. He gives language a face at this moment of self-recognition as a way of avoiding his own implication in language, only to be confronted once again by the inevitably rhetorical nature of language (de Man 1979a: see pp. 13–15 of this volume). Continence’s attempt to shield Augustine from fleshly temptation by interposing her own body into the text is not dissimilar, in its paradoxical force, to her figurative character being used to mask the duplicitous nature of language.

It is also a detour, a digression, in terms of the direction his story is taking. 52), deep in the entanglements of his story, and his sins, yet anticipating the clarity of their resolution (absolution). The second episode, the moment of Augustine’s conversion, seems significantly to repeat the first, for the final conversion also happens in a garden and uses as its context a children’s game. Augustine, at the climax of a long period of indecision, first removes himself physically from company, and then even from his faithful friend Alypius who has followed him into the garden.

According to John Sturrock, this moment of inner turmoil is what the Confessions realize at length: ‘This highly emotional moment of the story ranks as a mise en abyme of the work as a whole. Augustine is launched on the path of confession’ (Sturrock 1993: 44). Augustine therefore records here, in a condensed or metaphorical way, what will be repeated in a kind of hall-of-mirrors effect throughout the Confessions. Yet it might also be possible to argue at this point that Augustine is encountering some of the most intractable issues arising from autobiography as a genre.

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