Aesthetic autobiography : from life to art in Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Anaïs Nin /
Suzanne Nalbantian.
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994.
xi, 223 p. ; 22 cm.
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New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 210-215) and index.
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Appeared in Choice on 1995-01:
In her study Nalbantian explores the hybrid genre of aesthetic autobiography, that is, fiction that finds its origin in the writer's life. She is not so much concerned with autobiography per se as with the transformation of what she terms life fact into a work of art. She first presents an overview of the development of autobiography proper from Augustine to Sartre. She then proceeds to present a wide-ranging survey of recent and contemporary theories of autobiography. Nalbantian argues that critics have either overemphasized or underemphasized the role of the biographical in the modernist novel. Critics insist either on a direct correspondence between fiction and fact--seeking actual places and persons to explain novels--or on the absolute autonomy of the work of art. The modernists, Nalbantian argues, turned from the ambitions of the 19th-century realist novel to the material of their own lives. This material, however, was not simply transposed into narrative. It was reworked and refashioned into an aesthetic work. Nalbantian demonstrates her thesis with a careful examination of Joyce, Woolf, Proust, and Nin. Because of its specialized focus this study is perhaps best suited for research libraries. Graduate; faculty. S. Barnett; Central Connecticut State University
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Choice, January 1995
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Table of Contents
Historical Paradigmsp. 1
Theories of Autobiographyp. 26
A Theory of Aesthetic Autobiographyp. 43
The Art of Misrepresentation in Marcel Proustp. 62
The Stylised Quotidian in James Joycep. 100
Distancing and Displacement in Virginia Woolfp. 134
The Mythification of Selfhood in Anais Ninp. 170
Envoip. 198
Notesp. 200
Referencesp. 210
Indexp. 216
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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