Apology to Apostrophe: Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Self-Representation in Spain

Apology to Apostrophe: Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Self-Representation in Spain

by James D. Fernandez
     
 

Who writes "I"? To whom are autobiographies addressed? What kinds of readers are inscribed in autobiographical narratives? In Apology to Apostrophe, James D. Fernández's offers a lucid and powerful meditation on the nature of autobiographical writing through his investigation of the historical conditions and literary stagings of

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Overview

Who writes "I"? To whom are autobiographies addressed? What kinds of readers are inscribed in autobiographical narratives? In Apology to Apostrophe, James D. Fernández's offers a lucid and powerful meditation on the nature of autobiographical writing through his investigation of the historical conditions and literary stagings of autobiographical writing in Spain.
As Fernández demonstrates, recent developments in critical theory provide new and fruitful approaches to autobiographical works that have long been neglected, misunderstood, or, in some cases, virtually unknown. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on nineteenth-century Spain, Fernández exposes a rhetorical tension that often occurs in autobiographical discourse, between self-justification, or "apology," and the transcendence of this worldly impulse, or "apostrophe." This tension, he argues, is of particular interest in the case of Spain, but not peculiar to that nation, and his attention to the theoretical nature of autobiography leads to insightfl considerations of many canonical European autobiographies, including those of Saint Augustine, Rousseau, Saint Teresa, and Cardinal Newman.
Considering Spanish autobiography in the context of first-person narrative in Europe and in the terms of current debates on the relationship between writing and selfhood, Apology to Apostrophe marks a significant advance in our historical understanding and critical discussion of the genre. The book will be of great value not only to Hispanists but also to those interested in autobiography and cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The subject of Spanish autobiography is still in need of extensive research. Fernández contributes significantly to this enterprise with his intelligent, well-informed, and insightful study of the genre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is no other book that covers this important material and, given the difficulty and the vastness of the topic, there probably will not be another similar book in the future. It will be immensely useful to anyone interested in autobiography. . . . Apology to Apostrophe is a text that will keep underliners busy."—Randolph D. Pope, Washington University in St. Louis

"This book analyzes autobiographical texts, several of them little studied, and does so in an original, thought-provoking way. Autobiography in Spanish letters has, with very few exceptions, been all but ignored. The author takes a significant subject and studies it in a theoretically informed manner. The scholarship is superior."—Noël Valis, The Johns Hopkins University

Booknews
A thoughtful meditation on the nature of autobiographical writing, offering new critical approaches to long neglected, or unknown, works such as the Life of Joseph Blanco White. The primary focus is 19th- century Spain, but Fernandez touches on the likes of Saint Augustine Saint Teresa and Rousseau. A revised doctoral dissertation; contains some material previously published in Spanish. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822312543
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
08/26/1992
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
6.16(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.74(d)
Lexile:
1420L (what's this?)

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