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Reading Autobiography

A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives, Second Edition

2010
Authors:

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson

Reading Autobiography

The completely updated edition of the definitive guide to life narrative, from memoirs to blogs

Thoroughly updated, the second edition of Reading Autobiography is the most complete assessment of life narrative in its myriad forms. Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson lay out a sophisticated, theoretical approach to life writing and the components of autobiographical acts, including memory, experience, identity, embodiment, space, and agency.

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson are the unstoppable creators and charters of life writing criticism, and their second edition of Reading Autobiography is the guide of guides.

Biography

With the memoir boom, life storytelling has become ubiquitous and emerged as a distinct field of study. Reading Autobiography, originally published in 2001, was the first comprehensive critical introduction to life writing in all its forms. Widely adopted for undergraduate and graduate-level courses, it is an essential guide for students and scholars reading and interpreting autobiographical texts and methods across the humanities, social sciences, and visual and performing arts.

Thoroughly updated, the second edition of Reading Autobiography is the most complete assessment of life narrative in its myriad forms. It lays out a sophisticated, theoretical approach to life writing and the components of autobiographical acts, including memory, experience, identity, embodiment, space, and agency. Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson explore these components, review the history of life writing and the foundations of autobiographical subjectivity, and provide a toolkit for working with twenty-three key concepts. Their survey of innovative forms of life writing, such as autographics and installation self-portraiture, charts recent shifts in autobiographical practice. Especially useful for courses are the appendices: a glossary covering dozens of distinct genres of life writing, proposals for group and classroom projects, and an extensive bibliography.

Reading Autobiography

Sidonie Smith is Martha Guernsey Colby Collegiate Professor of English and women’s studies and 2010 president of the Modern Language Association. Smith has collaborated with Julia Watson on Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography (1996) and De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics of Gender in Women’s Autobiography (1992), both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Julia Watson is associate dean of arts and sciences and professor of comparative studies at Ohio State University. Watson has collaborated with Sidonie Smith on Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography (1996) and De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics of Gender in Women’s Autobiography (1992), both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Reading Autobiography

Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson are the unstoppable creators and charters of life writing criticism, and their second edition of Reading Autobiography is the guide of guides.

Biography