Women's Autobiography and the Shaping of Cultural History
AUTHOR: Ingram, Susan
PUBLISHER: University of Toronto Press
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Although the names Mandel'shtam and Nijinsky more commonly evoke the Russian poet and the ballet dancer, their wives, Nadezhda and Romola are also beginning to attract attention. Similarly, the lives and works of Simone de Beauvoir, Lou Andreas-Salome, Asja Lacis, and Maitreyi Devi all have been represented as having been dominated by their association with some of the most important men of Western letters, but they too are coming into their own. These six women all wrote the stories of their own lives, creating powerful narratives that channelled cultural forces at the same time as parrying them. Susan Ingram analyzes the literary, cultural, and ethical effects of these writers whose lives were intertwined with the cultural vibrations of their time, and who heralded the postmodern in having to negotiate their subject positions in the form of a relational autonomy, an ethical sense of alterity, and a strong desire to make an intervention in the cultures of their times.
Interdisciplinary in approach, this study brings together scholarship on auto/biography, post/modernity, ethics, identity, and relationality, and makes available material from a variety of languages, some of which appears in English for the first time. In relating the life-stories of six remarkable women to the increasingly popular genre of academic personal criticism, Ingram concludes that the ambiguous, problematic way these women represent their autonomy encourages us to read such academic criticism with attention to the way it represents and often blurs personal and collective identity.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/12/2003
CATEGORY: Biography & Autobiography, Family & Relationships, Literary Collections, Literary Criticism, Philosophy