The act of authorship for artisan was private and personal and also social and public, a deeply rooted ambivalence that permitted artisan autobiographers
"to speak at the same time for themselves and for others" (237).
Of course, I do not mean to suggest that Gibbon's Memoirs is the only model for nineteenth-century British autobiographers
With a self called to witness its own being, the traditional view of autobiography is grounded in the unique authority of the autobiographer
over her/his life story.
Just as the autobiographer
constructs the preconverted self in order to absolve it, the post-demotic author constructs a character in order to convert it, and in the process to show that conversion is possible.
As the first of its kind, African American Autobiographers
: A Sourcebook is an earnest effort, but to be of enduring value as a reference, the major gaps in the roster of African American autobiographers
it includes must be corrected in subsequent editions.
The book's second index classifies the autobiographers
under the fields and descriptive terms established in the first (chronological) index.
Bunyan distinguishes himself from his otherwise "unremembered class" of spiritual autobiographers
who follow the stages set by Luther's paradigm by fathoming the psychological as well as theological tradition to which he is heir.
Although Maynes addresses issues of gender masterfully, her schema raises, but does not allow her to answer with any depth, how one might understand the construction of female working-class identity, for female autobiographers
numbered few in either the "successful" or "militant" categories.
receive their first lesson in Jim Crow when they get caught between a white gang and a ferocious mother.
As one would expect, many autobiographers
specifically mention that they were subjected to severe discipline when it came to work.
Desiring to join with a community, Victorian autobiographers
repress Romantic self-consciousness only to end up affirming their isolation.
Like other African American autobiographers
after the Civil War when the antislavery issue had become obsolete, Singleton stressed the contributions made by his race to the nation and sought to convince whites that former slaves were entirely capable of performing the responsibilities of citizenship.
Sherwood, Yonge's reminiscences of her childhood, Harriet Martineau's and Elizabeth Sewell's autobiographies--appeared after the writers' deaths, and some were uncompleted and/or not originally written for publication, strengthening Brown's argument that woman autobiographers
felt a need "to play down their successes" in order to avoid "accusations of egotism and neglect of home duties" (114).
In the nonfiction of this same period, a few autobiographers
told of generational conflicts, mostly conflicts of outlook as in Turgenev's Fathers and Sons: thus Ibsen's disciple Edmund Gosse with novelistic flourish in his Father and Son (1907).
Probably because he is a scholar of literary narrative, Michael Awkward is more forthcoming than most autobiographers
are about the goals and strategies of his new memoir, Scenes of Instruction.