It is commonly accepted that identity or a sense of self is constructed by and through narrative - the stories we tell ourselves and each other about our lives. This book explores the complex relationships that exist between memory, nostalgia, writing and identity. The author examines a range of autobiographical and first-person fictional texts from holocaust literature, women's writing and popular fiction. Each text foregrounds issues of memory, history and trauma in the construction of identity. There are close readings of texts including Sylvia Fraser's My Father's House, Margaret Atwood's Cats Eye, Barbara Vine's A DarkAdapted Eye, Toni Morrison's Beloved, George Perec's W Or the Memory of Childhood, and Anne Michael's Fugitive Pieces. Reading these texts of memory shows that 'remembering the self' depends not on restoring an original identity, but on 're-membering', on putting past and present selves together, moment by moment, in a process of provisional reconstruction. This is a powerful contribution to the growing field of 'trauma' and holocaust studies. It will be of relevance to those working in the areas of literary and cultural studies, which are witnessing a steady growth of interest in autobiography, theories of narrative, and the relationship between trauma, history and memory.
Key Features *Close readings of recent fiction and autobiography, including Toni Morrison's Beloved, Anne Michaels' Fugitive Pieces and the popularthrillers of Barbara Vine *An interrogation of the models of memory which underpin the constructionof narratives and of identities, and of culture *A focus on meaning as constructed by the readers of the narrative text *An exploration of the myths of 'origin'