The writing life: authorship and authority in recent American autobiographical narratives Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • D'Amore, Jonathan L.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • I was a node in a new electronic landscape of celebrity, personality, and status, Norman Mailer wrote in 1959, describing the literary renown he earned after the publication of his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, a decade earlier. Mailer made his career as an active participant-observer in that landscape, alternately embracing and rebelling against his position and often featuring that role at the center of his texts. This project addresses the dual nature of the author as a cultural producer and product by examining self-representations in the works of Norman Mailer, John Edgar Wideman, and Dave Eggers. Their writing about themselves illustrates the tension in autobiographical narratives which requires individuals whose social identities are inherently connected to their authorship to acknowledge that position but also to humanize it by writing against their roles as public figures to reveal their private, inner selves. This dissertation enters ongoing critical and theoretical discussions of authorship, autobiography, and celebrity through analysis of texts, contexts, and paratexts--the apparatus which supports and surrounds a work's presentation to the world--in order to provide insight into the conflicting and overlapping interests of writers, publishers, and readers who are jointly invested in the ambiguity between the public and private personae of authors.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English & Comparative Literature."
  • Wagner-Martin, Linda
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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