Making sense in autobiography

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This chapter discusses two autobiographies, one genuine and one fictional, with emphasis on the textuality of literature. The analysis does not seek a demarcation line between fact and fiction, but studies two literary texts as sites of sense-making. The aim is to demonstrate that a literary text offers multiple possibilities not only to thematise but also to embody questions of sense-making. Moreover, literary narratives withhold and unsettle the reader’s sense-making efforts. In order to make this evident, in this chapter I first analyse textual ordering, like paratexts, beginnings and ends of the autobiographies, then the modes of mediating experience in these texts, and finally, the types of minds presented. While applying some ideas from post-classical, cognitive narratology, I promote a detailed textual analysis as an essential step between theory and interpretation as exercised by classical narratology.


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