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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Autobiographical turning points : remembering and forgetting : original research

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

The autobiographical process involves not just reporting on past events, reconstructing one's life history, but replaying events in different voices and modes. It may be that the autobiographer is motivated by the desire to impose one version of her or his life and to scotch the others. Even then, however, other versions, the ones under erasure, often show through the fabric - the fabrication - and we detect their traces in the turns of the rhetoric. Thus, in autobiography, the real agenda is often underneath, either because a less official motive lurks behind the manifest ones or because what really drives the project of self-scrutiny is something only progressively revealed in the process of writing. This issue takes into consideration the structuring implications of turning points in the account of a life and the roles of the converse forces of forgetting and subjective destabilisation. There are two ways of looking at turning points: either as causative agents of order and coherence or as metaphors - as provisional, semi-fictional, forensic, cognitive instruments. In the latter case, they belong to an active, performative, conjectural, self-revising process, and they complement a version of autobiographical memory that involves a constant interplay of remembering and forgetting.


Die outobiografiese proses behels nie net die optekening van gebeurtenisse uit die verlede en die rekonstruksie van 'n mens se lewensverhaal nie, maar ook die herhaling van gebeure in verskillende stemme en modusse. Die outobiograaf mag gedryf wees deur die begeerte om 'n enkele weergawe van sy of haar lewe voorop te stel, met die gevolg dat ander weergawes onderdruk word. Selfs dan skyn ander weergawes, dié wat geskrap is, dikwels deur die weefsel - deur die fabrikasie - en merk ons hulle spore in wendings van die retoriek. Gevolglik is die ware agenda in 'n outobiografie dikwels weggesteek, hetsy omdat 'n minder amptelike motief agter die manifeste motiewe skuil of omdat dit wat werklik die projek van selfondersoek aandryf, iets is wat slegs in die loop van die skryfproses onthul word. Hierdie saak neem die strukturerende gevolge van keerpunte in die relaas van 'n lewe in ag, en ook die rol wat die botsende kragte van vergeet en subjektiewe destabilisasie daarin speel. Keerpunte kan op twee maniere beskou word: as agente wat orde en koherensie veroorsaak, of as metafore - dit wil sê, as voorlopige, semi-fiksionele, forensiese, kognitiewe instrumente. In laasgenoemde geval maak hulle deel uit van 'n aktiewe, performatiewe, bespiegelende, selfhersieningsproses, en komplementeer hulle 'n weergawe van die outobiografiese geheue wat uit 'n konstante wisselwerking tussen onthou en vergeet bestaan.

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/content/literat/36/2/EJC178032
2015-01-01
2016-12-10

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