Performative Selves, Performative Poses: Gertrude Stein, Norman Mailer and Philip Roth as Autobiographers
From Table of Contents:
- Performative Beginnings
- Autobiographical Selves
- Topoi of Life Writing in Performative Literary Experiments
- Gertrude Stein, Norman Mailer and Philip Roth as Literary Celebrities.
The volume approaches American autobiography from the perspective of performative theory, arguing that autobiography is a performative genre - a cultural phenomenon that goes beyond the printed page to the social sphere of the production and circulation of literary texts, which act on readers, critics and authors themselves, with the potential to turn the latter into literary stars. The book joins current discussions of autobiography from other than purely literary perspectives, and highlights a topical issue: the ethics of life-writing. Its originality consists in the variety of angles from which the texts in my corpus are approached: sociology of literature, art history, photography, structuralism and post-structuralism, theories of genius, and so on. To my knowledge, there is no other book on the Romanian market that has simultaneously tackled the autobiographical writings of the canonical authors included in this volume: Gertrude Stein, Norman Mailer and Philip Roth. Nor has another Romanian writer approached autobiographies as theoretical objects (in Mieke Bal`s understanding of the term), that communicate among themselves, in an exercise of cultural analysis focused on topoi such as the autobiographical self, genius, literary celebrity, and the ethics of life-writing. I can only hope that you will take it as an invitation to meditate on the/your own self and its poses.