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p. 796. Public selveslocked

  • Laura Marcus


While autobiography is often associated with the private and personal, there are many examples that focus less on individual experience, or on self-exploration, than on the nature of the times in and through which the writer has lived. The autobiographical ‘I’ becomes a traveller through, and at times a guide to, wider cultural and historical forces, as the individual life-course intersects with, and is shaped by, collective events and experiences. ‘Public selves’ focuses on various categories of public autobiography: the life-writings of politicians, those of ‘public intellectuals’, and celebrity autobiography, which is frequently ‘ghosted’ by a writer paid to work for and/or with the celebrity, and to produce a ‘first-person narrative’.

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