[Truncated] This thesis pursues the quest for the discovery of formal features that would be specific o autobiography as a genre. It however approaches this search from the angle of reception rather than production. Although I review in the beginning the current thinking resulting from the latter approach, the fact that the autobiographer is acutely aware of the readers’ expectations makes the former a more fruitful approach. A vision of the anticipated audience can therefore be unearthed at various narratological levels, implicit and explicit. In order to apply reception theory to autobiography, I selected, among a body of approximately eighty-five French autobiographers, four contemporary writers: Violette Leduc,Françoise d’Eaubonne, Serge Doubrovsky and Marguerite Yourcenar. They have published between three and five autobiographical volumes each, which is proof of their scope and interest in the genre. Apart from Violette Leduc, none of my writers actually accepts the simple label of autobiography; two of them purport to write something slightly different, “contre-mémoires” (Françoise d’Eaubonne), autofiction (Serge Doubrovsky), while Marguerite Yourcenar calls Le Labyrinthe du Monde a family chronicle. This has not prevented readers from viewing works of all three writers as autobiographies. Such texts exemplify the importance of reception theory for literary autobiography.
|Translated title of the contribution||Reader and reading in contemporary French autobiography|
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||1 Jan 1991|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 1991|
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