Our lives are increasingly on display in public, but the ethical issues involved in presenting such revelations remain largely unexamined. How can life writing do good, and how can it cause harm? The eleven essays here explore such questions.
In this new book, Angel Loureiro proposes an ethics of autobiography that will change the way the genre is perceived. Previous studies of autobiography have focused primarily on the strategies of self-knowledge or self-creation displayed in writing about self. This emphasis on cognition leaves many unanswered questions, Loureiro asserts, because a fundamental dimension of the genre, what he calls the ethics of autobiography, has escaped critical attention up to now. To address this oversight, Loureiro draws from his own experiences as well as from a wide range of previous theoretical works on autobiography, especially from the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, who believed that the self does not begin as a self-positing consciousness but as a response to an address from the other. On this basis, Loureiro then brilliantly traces the complex interplays between the political, discursive, rhetorical, and ethical dimensions of autobiography. After laying out these theoretical foundations, Loureiro puts them to work in analyzing four of the most fascinating autobiographies written by Spanish exiles: The Life of Joseph Blanco White, who lived from 1775 to 1841, Memoria de la Melancolia by Maria Teresa Leon (1904-1988), Coto vedado and En los reinos de taifa by Juan Goytisolo (born 1931), and Literature or Life by Jorge Semprun (born 1923). The lives of these authors, all of whom were exiled for political reasons, were disrupted by some of the most crucial events in Spain's tortuous road to modernity and democracy. The book closes with a discussion of why there have been so few critical examinations of autobiographies written in modern Spain. Loureiro proposes that, even in today's Spain, stifling social and political forces smother ethical responsibility, which is an essential ingredient in creating autobiographies that dare to be more than a humdrum inventory of personal recollections. Only in exile have Spanish authors seemed able to find the conditions to write their lives in a truly responsible manner. This answer to a call that grounds the subject in an other is ultimately the only form of truth available in autobiography.
The ethical dimension of autobiography is emerging as an important area of study. Scholars now recognize that an autobiography must be read with an element of caution since it represents not so much the literal truth as the author's perception of people and events, a perspective sometimes unflattering to those portrayed. Focusing on the ethics of autobiography, this volume analyzes the works of four writers who spent much of their youth in working-class circumstances yet became highly educated intellectual professionals. It examines the ways in which each author confronts his or her past and how the authors represent their working-class family members. Texts discussed are Growing Up by Russell Baker (1982), Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman (1984), A Woman in Amber by Agate Nesaule (1995) and Clear Springs by Bobbie Ann Mason (1999). Each work recounts the author's struggle with a particular societal element such as gender, race, class division or region. While Baker's memoir provides an example of positive, balanced characterizations of working-class relatives, the texts by Wideman, Nesaule and Mason illustrate the ethical pitfalls in portraying less powerful family members in one's life story. An overview of trends in working-class autobiography and a brief survey regarding the critical reception of each work are included.
Against the backdrop of the polarized debate on the ethical significance of storytelling, Hanna Meretoja's The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible develops a nuanced framework for exploring the ethical complexity of the roles narratives play in our lives.Focusing on how narratives enlarge and diminish the spaces of possibilities in which we act, think, and re-imagine the world together with others, this book proposes a theoretical-analytical framework for engaging with both the ethical potential and risks of storytelling. Further, it elaborates anarrative hermeneutics that treats narratives as culturally mediated practices of (re)interpreting experiences and articulates how narratives can be oppressive, empowering, or both. It also argues that the relationship between narrative unconscious and narrative imagination shapes our sense of thepossible.In her book, Meretoja develops a hermeneutic narrative ethics that differentiates between six dimensions of the ethical potential of storytelling: the power of narratives to cultivate our sense of the possible; to contribute to individual and cultural self-understanding; to enable understandingother lives non-subsumptively in their singularity; to transform the narrative in-betweens that bind people together; to develop our perspective-awareness and capacity for perspective-taking; and to function as a form of ethical inquiry. This book addresses our implication in violent histories andargues that it is as dialogic storytellers, fundamentally vulnerable and dependent on one another, that we become who we are: both as individuals and communities.The Ethics of Storytelling seamlessly incorporates narrative ethics, literary narrative studies, narrative psychology, narrative philosophy, and cultural memory studies. It contributes to contemporary interdisciplinary narrative studies by developing narrative hermeneutics as a philosophicallyrigorous, historically sensitive, and analytically subtle approach to the ethical stakes of the debate on the narrative dimension of human existence.
The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: an Autobiuographical Sketch
Author: Richard Wright
Pubpsher: Bukamerica Incorporated
Category: Biography & Autobiography
BüKs are inexpensive pamphlets, each containing one provocative essay, short story, portfolio of pictures, collection of poems, or other surprising entertainment, readable in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee.
In an exploration of a range of life-writing scenarios-from the celebrity to the ethnographicand a number of life-writing genres from parental memoir to literary case studies by Oliver Sacks, addresses complex contemporary issues, including investigation of the role of disability in narratives of euthanasia and exploration of the implications of the Human Genome Project for life-writing practices in any age when many regard DNA as a code that scripts lives and shapes identity. A concern throughout is the ethical implications of the political and economic, as well as the mimetic, aspects of life writing. [back cover].
In Peter Brueghel's painting The Adoration of the Kings, the depiction of Joseph and Mary suggested to William Carlos Williams a paradigm for the relationship between poem and painting, reader and text, man and woman, that he had sought throughout his life to establish: a marriage that can acknowledge and withstand infidelity. Here Terence Diggory explores the meaning of this paradigm within the context of Williams's career and also of recent critical and cultural debate, which frequently assumes violence and oppression to be inherent in all forms of relationship. Williams's special attention to the art of painting, Diggory shows, put him in a position to challenge such assumptions. In contrast to the "ethics of reading" deduced by J. Hillis Miller from the premises of deconstruction, Diggory illuminates Williams's "ethics of painting" by applying Julia Kristeva's concepts of psychoanalytic transference and nonoppressive desire. The abstract or "objectless" space in which such desire operates is typified by modernist painting, for both Kristeva and Williams, but foreshadowed in the work of earlier artists such as Bellini and Brueghel. Originally published in 1991. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.