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

Max Saunders

in Self Impression

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579761
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722882 | DOI:
Auto/biografiction: Counterfeit Lives: A Taxonomy of Displacements of Fiction towards Life‐Writing

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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

Chapter.  25276 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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