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Writing Life: Early Twentieth-Century Autobiographies of the Artist-Hero$
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Mhairi Pooler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381977

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781781381977.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 13 April 2021

‘The Very Complexion of the Mirror’

‘The Very Complexion of the Mirror’

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction ‘The Very Complexion of the Mirror’
Source:
Writing Life: Early Twentieth-Century Autobiographies of the Artist-Hero
Author(s):

Mhairi Pooler

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781781381977.003.0001

The introduction’s title is taken from a quote by Henry James that underlines the book’s focus on the self-theorising artist: the idea that autobiographical writing shows the author’s mirrored reflection as well as an examination of the reflective surface itself. This idea is introduced alongside other key themes of the book, including the concern with genre, especially the mixed genre of ‘creative autobiography’ and how it compares with the Künstlerroman. The choice of authors studied and their interconnections are explained. It is described how each of the works focused on is a response to the moment of its composition – to the new century, to the shock of the First World War, to the experiments in self-expression or to the uncertainty of the interwar years – making Hans Georg Gadamer’s notion of the ‘historical horizon’ important to the study. This discussion dwells on Virginia Woolf’s idea that ‘human character changed’ in 1910.

Keywords:   Creative Autobiography, Künstlerroman, Autobiography theory, Self-theorising, Historical Horizon, Henry James, Gadamer, Virginia Woolf

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