"Other" Autobiographies: Automythography as Alternative Memoir

Dr. Karen Weekes
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Audre Lorde coined the term "biomythography" for her innovative fictionalized memoir, but her work actually appeared almost a decade after a similarly surreal auobiography, Maxine Hong Kingston's _The Woman Warrior_. Other memoirs share the integration of mythic and quotidian, the non-linear chronology, and the blurred line separating fact and fiction that these two texts exemplify. As cultural outsiders, Kingston, Lorde, and others mark a new autobiographical territory--as their lives break the boundaries of acceptable behavior within their cultures, their writing also breaks the form of traditional autobiography, forming a new mode that is shared by others of non-hegemonic status (whether that designation is conferred due to sexuality, race, gender, class, or intersections of these categories): the automythography.

Keywords: Autobiography, Memoir, Identity, Ethnicity, Sexuality, Culture
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Karen Weekes

Assistant Professor, English & Women's Studies, Penn State University, Abington College

Dr. Karen Weekes teaches literature, creative writing, and women's studies at Penn State University, Abington College, located near Philadelphia, PA, USA. She has published on 19th century figures including Edgar Allen Poe and Constance Fenimore Woolson, but the bulk of her work is in contemporary women's writing, from academic memoirs to short story cycles to the fictionalized "biomythographies" of the late 20th century.

Ref: H06P0280