Life Writing "from Below" in Europe: Introduction

T.G. Ashplant


The term life writing “from below” is intended to be broad (accommodating) in a double sense: as regards the social status of authors, but also the genre of writing. The phrase “from below” draws on an analogy with the now well-established formulation “history from below” (Sharpe; Hitchcock). In the first instance it refers to authors from low down in a class or status hierarchy. Depending on the society and period in focus, such authors may be slaves, serfs, peasants, crofters, landless labourers, artisans, industrial workers … and may be referred to as—or may designate themselves—plebeians, the labouring poor, the common people, the popular classes, artisans, proletarians, the working class.

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European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by University of Groningen Library