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Life writing and the end of empire : homecoming in autobiographical narratives

Life writing and the end of empire : homecoming in autobiographical narratives / Emma Parker.
London ; New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2024.
Copyright Notice Date
Physical Description
x, 198 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
"Exploring how legacies of British colonialism have shaped modern life narrative, this book offers comparative studies of four white life writers - Penelope Lively, J. G. Ballard, Doris Lessing and Janet Frame - who wrote and rewrote their childhoods in colonies, international settlements, and protectorates of the British Empire across numerous autobiographical texts. By drawing on their life writings, frequently side-lined for their fiction, Emma Parker illuminates hitherto unrecognized connections between these authors after they travelled from their respective childhood homes in Egypt (Lively), Shanghai (Ballard), Southern Rhodesia (Lessing) and New Zealand (Frame), arriving in London across a twelve-year period from 1945-1957. With their autobiographies intersecting at a crucial historical juncture when colonial rule was being dismantled, this book asks what it means to be 'at home' in the former British Empire, scrutinizing the spaces of habitation and the everyday details through which all four authors remember colonialism, from settler mansions and African farms, to empty swimming pools, heirlooms and photograph albums. Rounding off with an examination of material cultures at the end of empire, Parker emphasizes how four particular artefacts (a tallboy, a suitcase, a traveller's trunk and a duchesse dresser) emblematize and unlock the legacies of colonialism for Lively, Ballard, Lessing and Frame. When read together, these autobiographical texts reveal how empire and its aftermath seeped into everyday life, and that imperialism functioned as part of a given world both during and after colonial rule. Also coining the term 'speculative life writing', describing the practice wherein an author rewrites their previous memoirs or autobiographies with an alternative outcome, this book advances rich readings and new conceptual insights into these esteemed authors and the fields of life writing and postcolonial studies"-- Provided by publisher.
Other formats
Online version: Parker, Emma, 1991- Life writing and the end of empire London ; New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2024
Added to Catalog
May 03, 2024
New directions in life narrative.
New directions in life narrative
Includes bibliographical references.
Strangers in London : arriving 'home' in the post-war metropolis
Double exposures and counterfactual lives in Penelope Lively's memoirs
J.G. Ballard's colonial uncanny : settlements, swimming pools, and camps
Back to the Laager : Southern Rhodesia and Doris Lessing's travel memoirs
Possessions, property, and post-imperial melancholia in Janet frame's autobiographies
The lives of objects : on suitcases, trunks, tallboys, and dressers.

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