Download Altered Egos: Authority in American Autobiography by G. Thomas Couser PDF

By G. Thomas Couser

This paintings explores the "authority" of autobiography in numerous comparable senses: first, the concept that autobiography is authoritative writing since it is most likely verifiable; moment, the concept that one's lifestyles is one's particular textual area; 3rd, the concept that, due to the obvious congruence among the implicit ideology of the style and that of the kingdom, autobiography has a unique status in the US. conscious of the hot evaluations of the inspiration of autobiography as issuing from, decided by way of, or relating a pre-existing self, Couser examines the ways that the authority of specific texts is termed into question--for instance, simply because they contain pseudonymity (Mark Twain), the revision of a possibly spontaneous shape (Mary Chesnut's Civil conflict "diaries"), bilingual authorship (Richard Rodriguez and Maxine Hong Kingston), collaborative construction (Black Elk), or outright fraud (Clifford Irving's "autobiography" of Howard Hughes). Couser examines either the way canonical autobiographers may possibly playfully and purposely undermine their very own narrative authority and how during which minority writers' regulate in their lives can be compromised. Autobiography, then, is portrayed the following as an enviornment during which members fight for self-possession and self-expression opposed to the restrictions of language, style, and society.

Show description

Read or Download Altered Egos: Authority in American Autobiography PDF

Best american literature books

The Promise: A Novel of China and Burma

Overview

A compelling historic novel in regards to the tragic alliance among chinese language and English forces in Burma in the course of international warfare II.

Burma is less than assault from the japanese military, and a unit of chinese language squaddies is distributed to assist endangered British forces trapped at the back of enemy traces. China’s counsel hinges on a promise: In go back, the Allies will offer China with airplanes and army apparatus, a lot had to guard their very own civilian inhabitants. however the troops—including a tender commander named Lao San, whom dollar enthusiasts will be mindful from Dragon Seed—are met with ingratitude on each side. The Burmese deplore any good friend in their abusive colonizers, and the prejudiced British squaddies can’t carry themselves to regard the chinese language as precise allies. because the danger of catastrophe looms and the stakes develop better, the family members among the British and chinese language troops turn into ever extra fraught.

A trenchant critique of colonialism and wartime betrayal, The Promise is dollar at her evocative best.

This book positive factors an illustrated biography of Pearl S. greenback together with infrequent pictures from the author’s property.

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

"The fulfilled renown of Moby-Dick and of As I Lay demise is augmented via Blood Meridian, in view that Cormac McCarthy is the beneficial disciple either one of Melville and Faulkner," writes esteemed literary pupil Harold Bloom in his creation to the fashionable Library version. "I enterprise that no different residing American novelist, no longer even Pynchon, has given us a e-book as robust and noteworthy.

The Ethnography of Manners: Hawthorne, James and Wharton

This e-book examines fiction and ethnography as similar varieties for analysing and displaying social existence. targeting the novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, and Edith Wharton, the learn argues that novels and ethnographies collaborated to supply an risky yet robust grasp discourse of 'culture', a discourse that allowed writers to show new social energies and fears into specific different types of authorial services.

The First World War as a Clash of Cultures (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

This quantity of essays examines the perceived rift among the British and German highbrow and cultural traditions earlier than 1914 and the way the ensuing confrontation either displays and helped be certain ancient, political, and, eventually, army occasions. This vexed symbiosis is traced first via a survey of well known fiction, from alarmist British and German "invasion novels" to the visions of Erskine Childers and Saki or even P.

Additional info for Altered Egos: Authority in American Autobiography

Sample text

The result is that the dynamic social relations which always exist in literary production—the dialectic between the historically located individual author and the historically developing institutions of literary production—tends [sic] to become obscured in criticism (81). 18 As he puts it, those relations of production do not sanction a theory of textual criticism based upon the concept of the autonomy of the author.. "Final authority" for literary works rests neither with the author nor with his affiliated institution; it resides in the actual structure of the agreements which these two cooperating authorities reach in specific cases (54).

9 Memory is not a stable, static record that could ground a reliable written narrative; rather, it is itself a text under continuous unconscious revision. The attack on the common-sense conception of the self as an essence preceding or transcending context and language has been even more aggressive in the study of literature than in the social sciences. ) From a Marxist point of view, the idea of a unique self is a bourgeois delusion; from a semiotic point of view, "individuals" are, like texts, merely fields where different cultural codes intersect.

Gusdorf recognizes that this turning point is not passed once and for all by "humanity" or even by Western Europeans. Some critics of American literature, however, have been too eager to see the genre as open to all Americans—as universal, at least during the national era. 20 ALTERED EGOS That is, they have prematurely identified autobiography with a monolithic "American culture," ignoring its remoteness from, or inaccessibility to, minority groups within the larger population. In different ways, Maxine Hong Kingston and Richard Rodriguez testify to the difficulty of constructing a bicultural self.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.86 of 5 – based on 14 votes