“I am she who does not speak about herself”: The Impersonal Autobiography

Valérie Baisnée


This article examines how some contemporary autobiographies avoid narratives told from a first person viewpoint. Rejecting a philosophy of the subject that favors the first person pronoun over the other persons in language, Annie Ernaux’s impersonal autobiography The Years (2008) favors a mode of remembering that is collective rather than individual. But the narrator’s memories fall prey to a capitalist production system that denies the body while technology takes over the past, eliminating the subject as the owner of her memories.


Collective memory; gender; first person pronoun

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5463/ejlw.7.206


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