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Separated by a Common Language: The (Differing) Discourses of Life Writing in Theory and Practice

Separated by a Common Language: The (Differing) Discourses of Life Writing in Theory and Practice By Meg Jensen Differing Discourses used by life writers and the critics who study them create a damaging distance between practice and theory in the field. That distance, moreover, has become exacerbated by the emergence of innovative and ever-multiplying forms of life-story telling. To begin to support this claim, I offer below two examples of life-writing discourse, one from a writer and one from a critic. You will have, I suspect, no trouble guessing which extract is which. he differing discourses And when we turn to literary biographies, we will find that the author's failure to formulate a hermeneutics renders them blind to their subject's rhetoric. Biography remains entrapped within a humanistic problematic of a symbolic aesthetic that requires a teleological concept of history and consciousness. And because biography relies on an inadequate theory of history and language, a study of it offers a chance to re-evaluate the relation of literary studies to humanism. (Kronick 101­02) What is the worst/most difficult thing about talking to students/researchers about your work? Feeling ignorant and uninformed. What's this strange abstract language they're speaking? Is that really me/my book? (Blake Morrison1) My assertion that there is a communication problem between art and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png a/b: Auto/Biography Studies Autobiography Society, Inc.

Separated by a Common Language: The (Differing) Discourses of Life Writing in Theory and Practice

a/b: Auto/Biography Studies , Volume 24 (2) – Jan 14, 2009

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Publisher
Autobiography Society, Inc.
Copyright
Copyright © Autobiography Society, Inc.
ISSN
2151-7290
Publisher site
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Abstract

By Meg Jensen Differing Discourses used by life writers and the critics who study them create a damaging distance between practice and theory in the field. That distance, moreover, has become exacerbated by the emergence of innovative and ever-multiplying forms of life-story telling. To begin to support this claim, I offer below two examples of life-writing discourse, one from a writer and one from a critic. You will have, I suspect, no trouble guessing which extract is which. he differing discourses And when we turn to literary biographies, we will find that the author's failure to formulate a hermeneutics renders them blind to their subject's rhetoric. Biography remains entrapped within a humanistic problematic of a symbolic aesthetic that requires a teleological concept of history and consciousness. And because biography relies on an inadequate theory of history and language, a study of it offers a chance to re-evaluate the relation of literary studies to humanism. (Kronick 101­02) What is the worst/most difficult thing about talking to students/researchers about your work? Feeling ignorant and uninformed. What's this strange abstract language they're speaking? Is that really me/my book? (Blake Morrison1) My assertion that there is a communication problem between art and

Journal

a/b: Auto/Biography StudiesAutobiography Society, Inc.

Published: Jan 14, 2009

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