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Life Writing: The Spirit of the Age and the State of the Art

Life Writing: The Spirit of the Age and the State of the Art (Hardback)

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In our age, self-publishing, self-broadcasting, and telling stories about our own lives and the lives of others are all-pervasive. This is also the age of the witness, the age of testimony in which first-hand accounts, personal experience, life change and evolution are valued, for good or ill, over distanced reflection. What are we to make of all this telling of lives? The essays collected in Life Writing: The Spirit of the Age and the State of the Art from writers and academics associated with the Centre for Life Narrative Studies at Kingston University in London, begin to address this very question, and in doing so demonstrate the fluidity and diversity of life writing itself. The remit of the Centre for Life Narratives is to rise to the challenge poised to writers, teachers and researchers alike by this very fluidity and diversity in our discipline and is exemplified here with contributions from academics, curators, editors and biographers, including Neal Ascherson,Victoria Glendinning, Professor Kathryn Hughes, Hanif Kureishi, Blake Morrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

This collection of essays from CLN offers the reader our founding contribution to the debates that surround this era-defining genre and as such presents both the state of the art and the spirit of our age.

MEG JENSEN is Deputy Head of the School of Humanities at Kingston University in London, where she is Director of the Centre for Life narratives, and teaches both Creative Writing and English Literature. Recent work includes her forthcoming novel, Saints in Staten Island and a study of the novels of Virginia Woolf, (in M. Shiach, ed, The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel (CUP, 2007). JANE JORDAN is a Senior Lecturer at Kingston University and a specialist in Victorian literature. She is also Director of the MA in English on which she teaches classes in Life Writing. Jane is the author of two biographies, Josephine Butler (John Murray, 2001; Continuum, 2007) and Kitty O'Shea; An Irish Affair (Sutton Publishing, 2005), and is currently writing a literary biography of the Victorian popular novelist, 'Ouida'.

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