Autobiography & Postmodernism

Autobiography & Postmodernism

Autobiography & Postmodernism

Autobiography & Postmodernism


Exploring the connections between autobiography and postmodernism, this book addresses self-representation in a variety of literatures - Native American, British, Chicana, immigrant, and lesbian, among others - in genres as diverse as poetry, naming, confession, photography, and the manifesto. The essays examine how different writers respond to the culturally specific pressures of genre, how these constraints are negotiated, and what self-representation reveals about the politics of identity.


This collection of essays grew out of a conference on the Subject of Autobiography held in Portland, Maine, during the fall of 1989. A majority of the essays were given as short papers and then substantially expanded and revised for the book. The other essays not given at the conference were solicited for the volume. Only Andrei Codrescu's banquet speech appears here in its original form.

We acknowledge a generous grant from the Maine Humanities Council in support of the Autobiography Conference. University of Southern Maine's English Department and Dave Davis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also contributed to the original project, and the organizational abilities of Willard Rusch were invaluable. We are also grateful to the following English majors who assisted in running the conference: Mark Bishop, Jim Jellison, Marlene Kenney, Kathy Polhemus, Glen Powell, Jessica Reisman, and Tim Stover.

In keeping up with contributors and in assembling this volume, Michael Mulhall's assistance has been much appreciated. A special word of thanks must go to Paul Wright, editor at the University of Massachusetts Press, who has been with the book since the beginning. After attending the conference, he solicited the collection of essays we planned and has been persistent and patient throughout the long process of bringing this book to publication.

Finally, this volume and the conference that preceded it testify to the value of collaborative work. Our joint efforts over the past four years on various autobiography projects have proved that collaboration can bring both profit and pleasure.


Leigh Gilmore Policing Truth: Confession, Gender, and Autobiographical Authority appeared in different form in her Autobiographics . . .

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