Considering a broad range of Canadian women's autobiographical works, including memoirs, journals, and conventional autobiography as well as experiments in blending a number of writing genres, Helen Buss explores the way in which these diverse forms allow the expression of women's experience of their identities. Buss supplies a framework for her study by reviewing male-centred theories of identity and some of the ways in which theories working with women's autobiographical accounts are changing these models. She then constructs her own "mapping" theory of how female identity is formed in order to illustrate how, in autobiography, identity can be understood through the relationship between writer, text, and reader. The texts selected by Buss for her inquiry include those by earlier women writers such as Elizabeth Simcoe, Susanna Moodie, and Anna Jameson as well as a variety of twentieth-century texts by women who write from their special places in a diversity of ethnic, feminist, and writers' communities. Autobiographical pieces by Nellie McClung, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Carr, Laura Salverson, Margaret Laurence, Dorothy Livesay, Daphne Marlatt, Mary Meigs, Maria Campbell, Kristjana Gunnars, Aritha van Herk, and others inform this map of women's life-writing. Buss introduces each section of the book with a short autobiographical passage allowing the reader to place the author's critical practice within the context of her sense of her own identity as critic, writer, and woman.
Author: Helen M. Buss
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Category: Literary Criticism
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