Re-creating lives: the possibilities and limits of creative nonfiction

Karpf, Anne (2018) Re-creating lives: the possibilities and limits of creative nonfiction. In: Taking Stock to Look Ahead: Celebrating Forty Years of English Studies in Spain. Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain, pp. 15-24. ISBN 9788416723515

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Abstract / Description

Over the past 20 years creative nonfiction has emerged around the world as a genre highly popular with both publishers and readers. Some compelling examples have helped redefine how experience and actuality can be imaginatively narrated and have freed nonfiction writers from previous constraints. As a reader I relish these innovative texts; as a writer I have tried to make use of some of the new freedoms. Most of the controversy surrounding the genre has centred on accuracy and ethics in memoir: now that the boundary between fiction and nonfiction is no longer so heavily policed, how far can a writer go? Indeed, does anything now go? This paper explores outstanding recent examples of life writing but also disturbing instances; it also examines a variety of views among memoirists about the role of the imagined in life writing. While recognising that the notion of a unitary and stable self is a fiction, I take issue with what I see as postmodern legitimisation of assumed identities and argue that, when this is extended even to fake Holocaust memoirs, it risks fuelling Holocaust revisionism and denial.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: life writing; creative nonfiction; memoir; Holocaust memoir; fake memoir
Subjects: 800 Literature & rhetoric
900 History & geography > 940 History of Europe
Department: The School of Art, Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Anne Karpf
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2018 07:46
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 11:35


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