Fictional memoirs : authorial personas in contemporary narrative

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cameron Golden (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christian Moraru

Abstract: "This dissertation examines fiction writers who include themselves as characters within their fictional constructions. I look at the cultural emphasis on simulation in contemporary society which creates a context for these figures, hybrids of truth and fiction, to exist within a fictional landscape. In this way, by problematizing classification and rejecting fixed definitions of fiction, the authors included in this study use a poststructural paradigm to undermine conventional thinking about gender, the modern role of the writer, the function of the memoir, and life writing as a means of explaining a life. By creating a pseudo-biographical life within the fictional text, these authors have found a way to critique our culturally constructed ideas about truth, fiction, and identity. I begin by looking at authors who investigate the imperative of locating authority in the writer and the failure of postmodern writers to live up to this expectation. Following this metafictional look at authors who find themselves unable to complete their own texts, I include an examination of contemporary rewriting of the trauma narratives associated with the Holocaust. In a world filled with simulations, telling the truth about this event, the responsibility of all those who write about the holocaust, is an impossibility and these authors all find an alternate mode of writing about this event. Next, I focus on authors who use themselves as characters to challenge conventional thinking about gender and identity, love and sexuality. These writers all incorporate themselves into their work to critique how simulations (family stories, fictional texts, academic commentaries) have dictated contemporary thinking about gender and sexuality. Finally, I use Mark Leyner to point towards a new conception of the author figure, one that moves out of postmodernism into another literary movement, avant-pop. Leyner's view of "Mark Leyner," is all simulation--a writer who is not an outside observer but the center of society--and points to another use of this author figure, one who celebrates the impossibility of making distinctions between truth and fiction in life writing and revels in the simulated life he has created for himself."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
writers, fiction, characters, simulation, contemporary society, hybrids, fictional landscape, gender, role, Holocaust
Persona (Literature)
Self in literature

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