Juxtaposing and Jostling: The Art of Writing History?
Keywords:life writing, historiography, practice-based research, experiment
This reflective essay seeks to question, through my creative practice, methods of writing the history of post-1945 events for a young adult reader. Using creative techniques to add depth to the research, I explore the scope of the future project through a palimpsest diagram as well as poetry, word association and vignettes of my lived experiences. I compare how other creative writers have treated historical narrative in fiction, memoir and drama. Building on schoalrly debate on the role of life writing in historical processes, both source materials and historiography, the essay analyses the scholarship on postmodern representations of the recent past in literature, including personalised life writing and autobiography as well as novels. Problems jostle for attention: blank spaces of the historical records, unreliable memories, competing definitions of truth, Western class-bound identity and twenty-first century retrospection. My conclusions suggest that novelistic and lyrical techniques and voices may be an effective medium for shining a spotlight on the themes of the late twentieth century. The resulting work of auto/history will be written and read through a personal lens which that is at the same time a memoir, history and historiography, which juxtaposes a microscopic life against the constellation of world events.
Copyright (c) 2020 Jo Somerset
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).