By Linda Anderson
This can be a advantageous method to get what's going with autobiography as a style and an technique.
Especially powerful in bringing the reader during the ancients and into the postmoderns.
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Extra resources for Autobiography (The New Critical Idiom)
Truth, it appears, is an elastic and largely ideological construct which excludes both feminine ‘fancy’ and contradictory facts. Boswell carefully positions the reader as sharing the general and universal historians of the self ‘truth’ about Johnson while Mrs Thrale’s account, in drawing attention to Johnson’s peculiarities, is itself made to take on the qualities of singularity and deviancy. Ironically, it was Johnson himself who ﬁrst encouraged Mrs Thrale to keep a journal, bestowing the same encouragement on her that he had on Boswell.
Wright, as well, the conversion is an extremely ‘intertextual conversion’ which involves ‘a complex chain of conversion narratives’. The story of Ponticianus’ conversion which precedes Augustine’s own has itself been effected by reading the life of St Anthony who was himself influenced by a passage from the Bible (Wright 1988: 95–6). If conversion follows conversion, we could equally say that story succeeds story in an endless act of reading and reinterpretation. Augustine’s struggle with language is also enacted in the dual address of the Confessions.
Its popularity, both in Bunyan’s lifetime and the century after, is attested to by the huge number of later editions and translations. However, its transcendence as a text of its historical moment has been partly enabled by Bunyan’s own detaching of his spiritual life from history. He makes only a passing reference to the Civil War and says little about the specific reasons for his imprisonment. It is also supported by Bunyan’s realism which convinces the reader how personal and yet how ordinary the experience is.
Autobiography (The New Critical Idiom) by Linda Anderson