The Limits of Autobiographical Logic. On the Impossibility of Narrating One’s Death
Keywords:Petrarch, Augustinus, death, autobiographical logics, paradox
The practice of life writing seems to exclude the incorporation of the writer’s death. How can autobiography come to terms with this blind spot? Are there any strategies that enable the horizon or end of the writer’s life (‘bios’) to be integrated into his or her reflections thereof? How can the impulses that are given within the scope of the writer’s contemplation of her/his transience be characterized – and how are they important for ‘life writing’? This contribution examines the autobiographical works by Saint Augustine, Petrarch, and Fontane to illustrate three different models of how life writing sets out to address the different roles that death – or rather, the awareness of human finitude – plays for the genre.
Copyright (c) 2020 Mathias Mayer
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