Life writing as critical creative practice

Jolly, Margaretta (2011) Life writing as critical creative practice. Literature Compass, 8 (12). pp. 878-889. ISSN 17414113

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This essay offers an overview of the development of life writing criticism from its status as an outsider of English studies to a flourishing interdisciplinary field. I argue that one of the characteristics of this history has been a schism between critics of life writing and life writers themselves, a schism that echoes the well known ambivalence literary critics and writers generally feel towards each other. However over the last two decades, critics and life writers have become far more curious about each other and indeed increasingly borrow each others tools. Contemporary critical practice has become self-reflective, and a sizeable minority of academics have even penned their own memoirs. Conversely, life writing practitioners are more engaged with the theoretical debates that surround creative practice.I situate this picture of mutual influence in relationship to institutional as well as intellectual and creative developments in the UK, though with some references to the US. And I consider the dark side to the discovery of the academic I and the creatives inner intellectual. However I conclude that we are in an exciting moment for life writing, a mutable genre that can be at once critical practice, practice-based research and creative experiment.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research
Depositing User: Margaretta Jolly
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:02
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2018 15:45
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