One of our living autobiographers
states that when he was a small baby in Moscow in 1812 the French soldiers fed him with bread.
In the tradition of Edward Gibbon, who in Memoirs of My Life (1796) produced the first extended, secular autobiography to be printed and widely disseminated within a few years of his death (Shumaker 27), the Victorian literary autobiographer
stresses the development of innate traits into mature ideas, but the author's life in effect merges with a chronology of his published works as soon as he has reached the stage of development identified with a public role as he wishes to define it.
Just as the autobiographer
constructs the preconverted self in order to absolve it, the post-demotic author constructs a character in order to convert it, and in the process to show that conversion is possible.
The one autobiographer
discussed here is poet Agrippa d'Aubigne.
Each entry in this sourcebook begins with a biography of the autobiographer
, followed by a brief discussion of the themes of the autobiography and a short description of its critical reception.
He was a classicist, which shows everywhere, a biographer of poets, a memorable autobiographer
, a travel writer, a critical scholar, a fine translator, but primarily a poet and a good one.
He then discusses the attempt of the autobiographer
to make sense of himself by creating "an apparently stable and persuasive structure" (483)--or form--that will give him an identity.
With a self called to witness its own being, the traditional view of autobiography is grounded in the unique authority of the autobiographer
over her/his life story.
Grayson (1788-1863), known chiefly today as the author of the long neoclassical poem The Hireling and the Slave (1855), appears in this ably edited volume in new guise, as an accomplished, intelligent autobiographer
I suppose I was trying to recapture a sense of innocence and now, going back on it from afar, I realise that I am attempting to lay incidents of my life on paper like a card player would lay a hand upon a table - saying, as the autobiographer
does with a flourish, 'Here I am.
The revisiting of the past instigated by the sight of his books turns Benjamin's library into a plot for his life story; his retrospective glance is that of the autobiographer
who discovers a way of ordering his memories in a kind of narrative.
Cathal Dervan is the autobiographer
of Mick McCarthy's biography" - RICHARD KAUFMAN, TALKSPORT