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Marina Warner, Inventory of a Life Mislaid: An Unreliable Memoir




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In The Encyclopedia of Life Writing, Francis Russell Hart is quoted as having written that ‘[m]emoirs personalize history and historicize the personal … memoirs are about individuals,’ but they can reflect ‘an event, an era, an institution, a class identity’ (qtd. in Buss 595). This fits in perfectly with Marina Warner’s Inventory of A Life Mislaid: An Unreliable Memoir, her latest publication and most openly autobiographical one. On the one hand, crucial historical moments are personalized such as post-World-War II British neo-colonialism or ‘soft power’ in Egypt and the ensuing 1952 Cairo riots whose circumstances and consequences her parents, Emilia Terzulli and Esmond Warner, went through. On the other hand, Warner’s personal past, or rather her parents’ first meeting, wedding and various trips which transported them from Bari to London, then to a cosmopolitan post-war Cairo where the father opened a WH Smith bookshop, are historicized.

Author Biography

Souhir Zekri Masson, University of Tunis

Souhir Zekri holds a PhD in English Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (Scotland) and currently teaches at the Higher Institute of Applied Humanities of Tunis. Her main research areas include life writing theory, women’s postmodern fiction, gender studies and spatial theory. In addition to articles and article clusters published on these topics in Tunisia, the UK and in online journals, her PhD has been published as a book titled Mapping Metabiographical Heartlands in Marina Warner’s Fiction in 2019. She’s currently working on a few projects related to motherhood studies and personal autobiographical testimonies.





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