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The Private Self : Theory and Practice of Women's Autobiographical Writings - Shari Benstock

The Private Self

Theory and Practice of Women's Autobiographical Writings

By: Shari Benstock (Editor)

Paperback Published: 7th October 1988
ISBN: 9780807842188
Number Of Pages: 328

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This collection of twelve essays discusses the principles and practices of women's autobiographical writing in the United States, England, and France from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Employing feminist and poststructuralist methodologies, the essays examine a wide range of private life writings--letters, journals, diaries, memoirs, pedagogical texts, and fictional and factual autobiographies. The concepts of theory and practice--as opposing and mutually exclusive methodologies, as focal points for conflicting interpretations, and finally as complementary approaches to the study of literature--are central to this collection.

"The Private Self" explores the links between the historical devaluation of women's writings and the cultural definitions of women that have constrained their writing practices and excluded them from the canon of traditional autobiographical texts. Collectively, these essays expose the cultural biases that derive from notions of selfhood defined by a white, masculine, and Christian experience. In an effort to revise our prevailing concept of autobiography, these essays deal with differences of race, class, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.

Discussed here are writings by more than two dozen women including Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Alice James, Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Forten Grimke, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, Sophie Kovalevsky, Anais Nin, Hilda Doolittle, and Simone de Beauvoir. The work of these writers reveals a split between public and private self-representations, and it is the notion of a private self expressed through women's autobiographical writings that forms the link among all the essays.

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Theories of Autobiographyp. 7
Authorizing the Autobiographicalp. 10
Women's Autobiographical Selves: Theory and Practicep. 34
My Statue, My Self: Autobiographical Writings of Afro-American Womenp. 63
Simone de Beauvoir: Aging and Its Discontentsp. 90
Invincible Mediocrity: The Private Selves of Public Womenp. 114
Eighteenth-Century Women's Autobiographical Commonplacesp. 147
Autobiographical Practicesp. 173
Female Rhetoricsp. 177
Pedagogy as Self-Expression in Mary Wollstonecraft: Exorcising the Past, Finding a Voicep. 192
Representing Two Cultures: Jane Austen's Lettersp. 211
Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals: Putting Herself Downp. 230
Charlotte Forten Grimke and the Search for a Public Voicep. 254
"Wider Than the Sky": Public Presence and Private Self in Dickinson, James, and Woolfp. 272
Note on the Contributorsp. 305
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780807842188
ISBN-10: 0807842184
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 7th October 1988
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.78 x 14.99  x 2.34
Weight (kg): 0.49
Edition Type: New edition

Earn 124 Qantas Points
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