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By Professor Kate Douglas

The past due Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s witnessed a surge within the e-book and recognition of autobiographical writings approximately youth. Linking literary and cultural reports, Contesting youth attracts on a diversified choice of works from a various variety of authorsùfrom first-time to skilled writers. Kate Douglas explores Australian bills of the Stolen new release, modern American and British narratives of abuse, the bestselling memoirs of Andrea Ashworth, Augusten Burroughs, Robert Drewe, Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Dave Pelzer, and Lorna Sage, between many others.

Drawing on trauma and reminiscence reviews and theories of authorship and readership, Contesting Childhood bargains remark at the triumphs, trials, and tribulations that experience formed this style. Douglas examines the content material of the narratives and the bounds in their representations, in addition to many of the ways that autobiographies of teen became politically very important and influential. This learn allows readers to find how tales configure formative years inside cultural reminiscence and the general public sphere.

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Extra resources for Contesting Childhood: Autobiography, Trauma, and Memory

Sample text

They did so all through my childhood and even now they control my life, because of what they have done to me—and not just to me, but to all the Aboriginal people in Australia. The nonAboriginal people of Australia may sometimes wonder why Aboriginal people seem so dependent on government handouts. Well, for 200 years, what else did we have? Our independence was taken away, our dignity was destroyed and our country stolen from us, along with the murder of untold thousands of our people. What else was left?

Memories are produced out of experience and, in turn, reshape it” (xii). In the section that follows, I want to look at the ways in which autobiographies of childhoods reveal particular preoccupations relating to childhoods present. S. author Mary Karr has written two autobiographies alongside collections of poetry and numerous academic and review articles. Karr is part of an unprecedented wave in late twentiethcentury women’s autobiography committed to using life-writing forms to write about events from the private sphere—recounting details of everyday family life.

Sage, like Karr, does not present her childhood as an ideal yesteryear alternative to contemporary crises of childhood. She experienced an unhappy 30 contesting childhood home life that was rife with feuding and secrecy, and her narrator explicitly debunks her family’s presentation of “happy families” as an illusion: They always closed ranks and pretended that everything was solid, normal and natural. Here we have the family of the period: self-made and going places. Only when you look more closely can you see that this housewife is pathologically scared of food, hates home, is really a child dreaming of pretty things and treats; and this businessman will never accumulate capital, he’s still a boy soldier, going over the top again and again.

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