The Autobiographical Dimension of Brainy Books
Keywords:brainy books, functional autobiography, anecdotes and confessions, scientific autobiography
This article purports to explore the autobiographical dimension of a recent publishing phenomenon, brainy books. It’s my contention that these books display a constant dialectic tension between their source (academic research) and their target (non-academic readers), and one way of reconciling both sides consists in resorting to rhetorical strategies in order to make their research more accessible. One of these strategies is openly autobiographical. Through two case studies—Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) and Paul Dolan’s Happiness by Design (2014)—I study the various functions of this autobiographical dimension: perlocutionary, contextualizing, illustrative and finally autobiographical beyond functionality. It’s my overall aim to demonstrate that the authors’ choice to include personal anecdotes or even confessions in books primarily meant to spread knowledge to a larger audience makes brainy books a fascinating subject for life writing studies.
Copyright (c) 2020 Arnaud Schmitt
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