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p. 91. Confession, conversion, testimonylocked

  • Laura Marcus


While autobiography can be defined as a literary form, it reaches into, and overlaps with, many other kinds of writing and fields of knowledge. This is particularly clear in the case of the models confession, conversion, and testimony, which bring the literary into relation with concepts central to religion, law, and history. ‘Confession, conversion, testimony’ explains that these models also bear on questions that have been fundamental to understandings of autobiography: truth, authenticity, selfhood, narrative time, memory, the relationship between past and present selves, the motives for writing an autobiography, and the identities, imagined or real, of the autobiography’s addressees or readers. Examples of autobiographies discussed include those of St Augustine, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and J. M. Coetzee.

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