For centuries, the "great man" format and masculine discourse of biography and autobiography have eclipsed women. If we accept this history, we remain ignorant of "Lady Sarashina," a Japanese woman of the Han period, whose book survives from the 11th century. We overlook Margaret Cavendish and Dame Julian, two early English autobiographers. And we fail to consider sufficiently slave narratives, oral histories, or lesbian "coming out" stories.
Telling Women's Lives assesses existing traditions of autobiography and biography in search of a method capable of conveying the distinctive content of women's lives while retaining the tenor of feminine subjectivity. Drawing on feminist research methodologies of the past two decades as well as anthropology and sociology, Long paves the way for the formulation of an emergent feminist methodology for telling women's lives.
This highly original study seeks to revise and recreate the genre so as to accommodate a feminine discourse, narrator, reader, and subject. The "messiness" of women's lives-the daily work and detail that men have programmatically excluded-acquires new meaning as Long develops here an innovative theory of sociobiography.
"This is a history book of the best sort: an even-handed account that makes us question the assumptions we have taken for granted and look back at the details we have too often overlooked, tried hard to forget, or swept away." -Robert Eaglestone, Royal Holloway, University of London