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Helena Grice

Kingston has gained a reputation as one of the most popular – and controversial – writers in the Asian American literary tradition, who has been by turn celebrated and excoriated. Kingston’s development as a writer and cultural activist in relation to both ethnic and feminist traditions, occurs across the range of her expanding oeuvre: her two novels, her occasional writings and her two-book life-writing project. How do we account for the phenomenal success of The Woman Warrior – the most widely read title in American universities today – a success that not only

in Maxine Hong Kingston
Abstract only
Susana Onega

terms overlap and intersect,’3 while Lauren Rusk saw her as belonging in an international trend, also exemplified by Woolf, James Baldwin and Maxine Hong Kingston, representing what Rusk calls The Life Writing conclusion.qxd 2/2/06 Conclusion 2:02 pm Page 227 227 of Otherness.4 Although different in many respects, these essays share a crucial concern with the analysis of subjectivity in Winterson’s work, perceived as marginal and/or fragmented, no matter whether the marginality and fragmentariness stem from the characters’ lesbianism or simply from their

in Jeanette Winterson
Narrating nation and identity
Susan Watkins

body of work in autobiographical forms by those of subordinated races and cultures, for example the slave narratives that Morrison discusses in ‘The Site of Memory’. Writers of ‘intercultural’ autobiographies 55 construct a self in the space between different languages and cultures. What has also been termed ‘the life writing of otherness’ necessarily modulates between strategies that dislocate the universal subject and strategies that acknowledge its appeal to the disenfranchised. 56 Lauren Rusk’s first chapter in The Life Writing of Otherness discusses A Room

in Doris Lessing
Glyn White

which also makes use of personal photographs and reproductions. Hélène Cixous, with the help of Mireille Calle-Gruber, has produced a similar volume (Rootprints 1997 ) to which Derrida contributed. The inclusion of extracts, fragments and pictorial material co-opts, a dimension of life writing, just as G!as destabilises monological philosophical discourse through its

in Reading the graphic surface
Hawai‘i One Summer (1987/1998)
Helena Grice

Warrior; for her failure, as Chin saw it, to pay necessary homage to the indigenous traditions of Chinese America and instead to publish a narrative which ‘violated beyond recognition’ the myths and stories of ‘her’ culture. 31 Yet as the reflections of Hawai‘i One Summer attest, Kingston had already devoted much time and thought to the question of what we might term the ‘ethnic ethics’ of literary production. Kingston’s decision in her life-writing volumes The Woman Warrior and China Men to blend mythical and literary modes reflects her conclusion in Hawai

in Maxine Hong Kingston
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A dialogue on influence
Michèle Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery

very dubious picture of the biographer at work’. ‘What can I say?: secrets in fiction and biography’ explores Hollinghurst’s long-standing relationship to biography and discusses how his interest in its evolution informed his 2011 novel. He reveals that the novelist he became is indebted to the biographer he didn’t become. Lee observes that Lytton Strachey’s 1918 Eminent Victorians changed biography and that by including Strachey in the novel, Hollinghurst brought together ‘what happens to the history of biography and life-writing in Britain in the twentieth century

in Alan Hollinghurst
The Innocent and Black Dogs
Dominic Head

the context of the narrative, and a chief source of unease – not just for the ‘biographer’ Jeremy, but for the author and the reader, too. In this respect, Black Dogs shares some of the ethical concerns that have preoccupied critics of life writing. The particular circumstances of this biographical work are interesting, since it is, notionally, collaborative. Yet when Jeremy wonders ‘ungenerously, if I was being used – as a conduit, a medium for the final fix June wanted to put on her life’, a thought that makes him ‘less uncomfortable about not writing the

in Ian McEwan
1930s biodrama and the archive/ museum performed
Amber K. Regis

home and drawing upon an ever-​expanding corpus of Brontë writings. The opening of the Parsonage Museum in 1928 was a landmark event, and in the ten years that followed the Shakespeare Head Brontë (1931–​38) issued new editions of the novels, poetry and unpublished works, including four volumes of letters and life-​writing. Museum and scholarly edition were differing manifestations of a shared impulse: to collect the Brontës’ textual and material remains, curating them within a single, concentrated site. The purchase of Haworth parsonage had been an objective of the

in Charlotte Brontë
Helena Grice

In fact, the text is able to move quite easily between fiction and nonfiction modes. Kingston is a past master at combining generic registers, and could even be said to have built her literary reputation upon the (con)fusion of fictional and life-writing modes in her earlier works The Woman Warrior and China Men , as she does again here. In Three Guineas Virginia Woolf suggested that women could best write (about) peace ‘by not repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new methods’. 10 Peggy Kamuf notes that Woolf

in Maxine Hong Kingston
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Haunted ‘history’ in The Night Watch
Natasha Alden

Explores the extension of postmemory from a generational model to one which might work across communities rather than families. Analysis of the relation of Sarah Waters’ novel ‘The Night Watch’ situates it in its literary and historical context as a 21st century queer novel, and one which explores queer ideas of belonging and of life-writing to give voice to a lost past.

in Reading behind the lines