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Self ImpressionLife-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature$
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Max Saunders

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579761.001.0001

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Auto/biografiction: Counterfeit Lives: A Taxonomy of Displacements of Fiction towards Life‐Writing

Auto/biografiction: Counterfeit Lives: A Taxonomy of Displacements of Fiction towards Life‐Writing

(p.208) 5 Auto/biografiction: Counterfeit Lives: A Taxonomy of Displacements of Fiction towards Life‐Writing
Self Impression

Max Saunders (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the converse displacement to that considered in Chapters 3 and Chapter 4, looking instead at cases where fiction‐writers colonize the forms of life‐writing, producing a variety of fake diaries, journals, biographies, and autobiographies. It takes a different approach to most of the other chapters, consisting of brief accounts of many works rather than sustained readings of a few. A taxonomy of modern engagements with life‐writing is proposed. The chapter moves on to discuss Galton's notion of ‘composite portraiture’ as a way of thinking about the surprisingly pervasive form of the portrait‐collection. The main examples are from Ford, Stefan Zweig, George Eliot, Hesketh Pearson, Gertrude Stein, Max Beerbohm and Arthur Symons; Isherwood and Joyce's Dubliners also figure. Where Chapters 3 and Chapter 4 focused on books with a single central subjectivity, this chapter looks at texts of multiple subjectivities. It concludes with a discussion of the argument that multiple works — an entire oeuvre — should be read as autobiography.

Keywords:   Ford Madox Ford, Stefan Zweig, George Eliot, the impressions of Theophrastus Such, Francis Galton, Hesketh Pearson, Gertrude Stein, Max Beerbohm, Arthur Symons, Christopher Isherwood, James Joyce, Dubliners, Künstlerroman, Fakes, Rilke, the notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge, the memoirs of a failure, Daniel Wright Kittredge, biografiction, autobiografiction, Gide, Les Faux‐Monnayeurs, the counterfeiters, the whispering gallery, Maurice Baring, lost diaries, the memoirs of satan, William Gerhardi, What a Life, E. V. Lucas, George Morrow, Augustus Carp, portrait‐collections, composite portraiture, composite photograph, portraits from life, Frank Harris, Robert Louis Stevenson, Marcel Schwob, Vies imaginaires, spiritual adventures, Henry James, the figure in the carpet

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