Artful Histories: Modern Australian Autobiography

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 1, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 237 pages
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Artful Histories is an account of modern Australian autobiography that radically revises theories of autobiography and discusses a remarkably broad range of popular and literary texts written over a period of three decades. In his challenge to post-structuralist theories of autobiography, particularly in terms of autobiography's relationship with fiction and history, David McCooey analyses the nature of the self, the question of intent and the role of narrative. He discusses the ways in which the autobiographer makes sense of his or her life through a developing but continuous awareness of the narrative quality of experience. The book explores themes around the mythology of childhood, education, sexuality, the discovery of hidden histories, the trauma of displacement and death and, finally, the importance of place in the Australian imagination.
  

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Contents

Autobiography and History
5
Beginnings Histories and Families
26
Beginnings and Myth
48
Parents Crisis and Education
70
The Hidden Past and Personal History
91
Autobiographies of Displacement
109
The Individual and Place
137
Fiction and Autobiography
164
Conclusion
191
Notes
202
Select Bibliography
220
Index
232
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About the author (1996)

David McCooey is an award-winning, and widely published, poet and critic. His first collection of poetry, Blister Pack, won the Mary Gilmore Award and was short-listed for four other major Australian literary awards. He is the Deputy General Editor of the award-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (published internationally as The Literature of Australia). He is associate professor at Deakin University in Victoria.

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