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The Ethics of Autobiography

Author: Angel G. Loureiro
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
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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 Ethics of Life Writing

Author: Paul John Eakin
Publisher: Cornell University Press
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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.


The Ethics of Working Class Autobiography

Author: Elizabeth Bidinger
Publisher: McFarland
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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.


Sex Lies and Autobiography

Author: James L. O'Rourke
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
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In Sex, Lies, and Autobiography James O’Rourke explores the relationships between literary form and ethics, revealing how autobiographical texts are able to confront readers with the moral complexities of everyday life. Tracing the ethical legacy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions in a series of English-language texts, the author shows how Rousseau’s doubts about the possibility of ethical behavior in everyday life shadows the first-person narratives of five canonic works: William Wordsworth’s Prelude, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Villette, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Offering a fascinating new way of thinking about ethics through literature, Sex, Lies, and Autobiography challenges the most fundamental principles of the philosophical study of ethics, revealing the innate difference between morality in life and morality in literature. O’Rourke begins with Rousseau’s inability to reconcile his intuitive belief that he is a good person with the effects that his actions have on others, and he goes on to show how this same ethical impasse recurs in the five aforementioned texts. The ethical crises these texts describe, such as when Jane Eyre’s happiness can be purchased only at the cost of Bertha Mason’s suicide, or when Humbert Humbert’s artistry demands the sacrifice of Dolores Haze, are not instances of authorial ethical blindness, O’Rourke says, but rather are ethical challenges that force us as readers to consider our own lives. In each of these works, a narrator attempts to justify his or her behavior and fails; in each case, the rigorous narrative of self-examination demands a similar effort from the reader, whose own sense of moral rectitude is put into question. Confronting the long-held philosophical construction that links ethical principles and life choices, thereby reassuring us of the ethical coherence of everyday life, the narrators of these literary autobiographies come to a very different conclusion; by looking back on their lives, they cannot understand how their most benevolent desires led to such damaging life stories. By leaving meaning inexplicit, O’Rourke argues, these texts are able to recover traumatic material that is ordinarily repressed and then bring that repressed knowledge to bear on self-justifying narratives. For readers interested in autobiographical studies, ethical criticism, and trauma and literary studies, Sex, Lies, and Autobiography provides a groundbreaking analysis of the role of ethics in literature.


The Ethics of Storytelling

Author: Hanna Meretoja
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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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.


Renegotiating Ethics in Literature Philosophy and Theory

Author: Jane Adamson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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An international cast of philosophers and literary theorists addresses questions of ethics and literary criticism.


Contemporary Trauma Narratives

Author: Jean-Michel Ganteau
Publisher: Routledge
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This book provides a comprehensive compilation of essays on the relationship between formal experimentation and ethics in a number of generically hybrid or "liminal" narratives dealing with individual and collective traumas, running the spectrum from the testimonial novel and the fictional autobiography to the fake memoir, written by a variety of famous, more neglected contemporary British, Irish, US, Canadian, and German writers. Building on the psychological insights and theorizing of the fathers of trauma studies (Janet, Freud, Ferenczi) and of contemporary trauma critics and theorists, the articles examine the narrative strategies, structural experimentations and hybridizations of forms, paying special attention to the way in which the texts fight the unrepresentability of trauma by performing rather than representing it. The ethicality or unethicality involved in this endeavor is assessed from the combined perspectives of the non-foundational, non-cognitive, discursive ethics of alterity inspired by Emmanuel Levinas, and the ethics of vulnerability. This approach makes Contemporary Trauma Narratives an excellent resource for scholars of contemporary literature, trauma studies and literary theory.


B k 13

Author: Richard Wright
Publisher: Bukamerica Incorporated
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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.


The Ethics of Kinship

Author: Professor of Anthropology James Faubion
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
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The Ethics of Aristotle

Author: Aristoteles
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