Representing Lives pp Cite as. How is autobiography to be generically distinguished from the novel? It is often assumed that autobiography is based more emphatically on fact or reality, the novel on fantasy or imagination. However, we all know that many novels read like autobiographies and, indeed, much of the frisson of the writing depends on this close but unaffirmed identification. Here I will first look at what the categories autobiography and novel have in common and then attempt to pull them apart again.
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Philippe Lejeune born 13 August is a French professor and essayist, known as a specialist in autobiography. He is the author of numerous works on the subject of autobiography and personal journals. He is a cofounder of the Association pour l'autobiographie et le patrimoine autobiographique Association for Autobiography and Autobiographical Heritage created in Paris in As Lejeune notes in The Practice of the Private Journal , "the diary is a social outcast, of no fixed theoretical address," a problematic profile that has caused one of the most widely practiced autobiographical forms to be largely ignored or misrepresented.
In this sense, Lejeune tried to establish a basic theory that allows scholars to better classify this popular genre beginning by providing a definition of autobiography: "[it is] the retrospective record in prose that a real person gives of his or her own being, emphasizing the personal life and in particular the 'story of life'. So the autobiography is characterized by the dual approach of introspection and a claim for truth.
Nevertheless, he concedes that there are multiple factors memory deficiencies, untruthfulness or excessive candor, the chosen narrative method etc. Novelist and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet , upon writing down his own life in Le Miroir qui revient , English translation by Jo Levy: Ghosts in the Mirror , , opposed Lejeune's concept of the autobiographical pact, which sparked a lengthy controversy about the concept among French intellectuals.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Belgian equestrian, see Philippe Le Jeune equestrian. Canadian Literature : — Archived from the original on 27 August Retrieved 4 April Le Pacte autobiographique. Paris: Seuil. Contents, and Book details". On Diary, edited by Jeremy D. Popkin and Julie Rak, translated by Kathy Durnin. Publication Year: , University of Hawai'i Press. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lejeune is a leading European critic and theorist of diary and autobiography. His landmark essay, "The Autobiographical Pact," has shaped life-writing studies for more than thirty years, and his many books and essays have repeatedly opened up new vistas for scholarship.
The Textual Contract: Distinguishing Autobiography from the Novel