Borderlines: Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern Life by Gunnthórunn Gudmundsdóttir

By Gunnthórunn Gudmundsdóttir

Borderlines. Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern Writing locates and investigates the borderlines among autobiography and fiction in different types of life-writing courting from the final thirty years. This quantity bargains a necessary comparative method of texts by means of French, English, American, and German authors to demonstrate the several varieties of experimentation with the borders among genres and literary modes. Gudmundsd?ttir tackles vital modern matters akin to autobiography’s dating to postmodernism through investigating subject matters resembling reminiscence and crossing cultural divides, using images in autobiography and the position of narrative in life-writing. This paintings is of curiosity to scholars and students of comparative literature, postmodernism and modern life-writing.

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For it is only in the darkness of solitude that the work of memory begins' (The Invention of Solitude, p. 164). This is the third thread that Auster weaves with writing and memory: solitude. His own solitude, the general solitude of the writer, the solitude of madness and writing (Auster mentions Hölderlin and Dickinson). The solitude of those in hiding and exile (he includes Anne Frank, and his Jewish friend's father who hid in an attic room in Paris during the war), and Jonah's solitude in the whale.

The first fictional part of W ou le souvenir d'enfance describes a quest, and autobiography can be seen as a quest for the forgotten or the half-remembered, a quest that always remains partly unfulfilled. At the start of the first chapter of his childhood memories Perec says: 'Je n'ai pas de souvenirs d'enfance': je posais cette affirmation avec assurance, avec presque une sorte de défi. L'on n'avait pas à m'interroger sur cette question. Elle n'était pas inscrite à mon programme. J'en étais dispensé: une autre histoire, la Grande, l'Histoire avec sa grande hache, avait déjà répondu à ma place: la guerre, les camps.

But in Scoundrel Time she has decided to remember, coming to the conclusion that forgetting was dangerous. It is a work that points to the political implications of forgetting. 34 Borderlines The last autobiographical work is intriguingly titled Maybe: A Story. Hellman chronicles her relationship with a woman called Sarah, who is not mentioned in the other works. A woman she knows very little about, and what she knows is contradicted by other people's accounts. This is Hellman's last work and in it all her doubts about memory and the difficulties of representing the past culminate.

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