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The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony (Hardback)
  • The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony (Hardback)
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The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony (Hardback)

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£67.00
Hardback 176 Pages / Published: 25/01/2001
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Memoirs in which trauma takes a major-or the major-role challenge the limits of autobiography. Leigh Gilmore presents a series of "limit-cases"-texts that combine elements of autobiography, fiction, biography, history, and theory while representing trauma and the self-and demonstrates how and why their authors swerve from the formal constraints of autobiography when the representation of trauma coincides with self-representation. Gilmore maintains that conflicting demands on both the self and narrative may prompt formal experimentation by such writers and lead to texts that are not, strictly speaking, autobiography, but are nonetheless deeply engaged with its central concerns.In astute and compelling readings of texts by Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Dorothy Allison, Mikal Gilmore, Jamaica Kincaid, and Jeanette Winterson, Gilmore explores how each of them poses the questions, "How have I lived? How will I live?" in relation to the social and psychic forms within which trauma emerges. Challenging the very boundaries of autobiography as well as trauma, these stories are not told in conventional ways: the writers testify to how self-representation and the representation of trauma grow beyond simple causes and effects, exceed their duration in time, and connect to other forms of historical, familial, and personal pain. In their movement from an overtly testimonial form to one that draws on legal as well as literary knowledge, such texts produce an alternative means of confronting kinship, violence, and self-representation.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801437991
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 397 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Gilmore offers astute and compelling commentaries in relation to the social and psychic forms within which selected autobiographers told their personal stories in literate and unconventional ways. . . .Informative, thought-provoking chapters comprise this unique and highly recommended contribution to the literary study of the autobiography."-The Bookwatch, June 2001
"Leigh Gilmore's The Limits of Autobiography is a fine addition to the body of excellent recent work in trauma studies, and is highly recommended for all working in the mental health disciplines. . . The writing is extremely fine throughout, and the book is a rich cornucopia of literary and psychological analyses, theoretical sophistication, and interdisciplinary connectedness; these treasures can only be suggested here."-Marilyn Nissim-Sabat. Metapsychology Online Review, January 2002
"Through theoretically nuanced, lucid, and insightful readings, Gilmore demonstrates the ability of narrative to transform trauma, to speak to a certain truth about the relationship between trauma and identity that goes beyond the exigencies of accuracy and objectivity that pertain to a juridical contect. . . Any reader interested in the myriad interpenetrations of violence, the law, identity, family, and life writing will find much to admire in this impressive study."-Susannah B. Mintz. Biography, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Fall 2001)
"Leigh Gilmore easily negotiates disparate fields of scholarship yet speaks significantly to all of them-from poststructuralist and feminist theory to medical studies of trauma. Her arguments are theoretically sophisticated and engaging, while her thinking about the individual texts is lucid, arresting, and new."-Evan Watkins, Pennsylvania State University
"Leigh Gilmore's The Limits of Autobiography combines sheer conceptual brilliance with a riveting critical narrative about violence and self-representation. It is a theoretical tour de force that asks fundamental ethical and legal questions about what constitutes justice and knowledge in the context of trauma."-Francoise Lionnet, UCLA

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