From Library Journal
Eakin conceives of autobiography as a performative act in which the self is created in language. In brilliant readings of Mary McCarthy, Henry James, and Sartre he explores the role of fiction in the process of self-invention, arguing that with autobiography fiction is not deception but a means of self-revelation that captures psychological truth. The study is somewhat disjointed, as the last two chapters veer away from the attention to fictionalizing that binds together the first three. But the entire text shimmers with fresh insight into the nature of autobiography. Eakin surfs the roiled waters of theoretical discourse with ease and grace. The performative act of his own study is nothing less than dazzling. Leland Krauth, English Dept., Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Paul John Eakin's Fictions in Autobiography
does so many things so well that it is difficult to know where to begin to praise the book. . . . As autobiography has been the dominant mode in literature of the twentieth century, so critical attention to the questions posed by the autobiographical act has become the principal preoccupation of theorists across the entire critical spectrum. And Eakin's book is both a superb exercise in thinking through these questions as they rise out of a consideration of half a dozen exemplary texts and at the same time an admirable summary, recapitulation, and extension of what has been said, directly and indirectly, on the subject in the past quarter of a century."--James Olney, American Literature
"Fictions in Autobiography
is a judicious, far-ranging, immensely clarifying discussion of the modern art of self-construction which addresses several issues long perplexing readers and critics. . . . If story-telling is a basic mode of existence as well as a specific literary form, this is best demonstrated in autobiographies, particularly those by Mary McCarthy, Henry James, Jean-Paul Sartre, Vladimir Nabokov, Alfred Kazin, Frank Conroy, Saul Friedlnder, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Eakin selects these texts because each is about the making of existential fictions by both actor and author."--American Studies