Biography, vol. 26, no. 4 (2003)

Biography 26.4 cover imageEditor’s Note, p. v


Carolyn Tilghman
Autobiography as Dissidence: Subjectivity, Sexuality, and the Women’s Co-operative Guild, p. 583

This article examines British working-class women’s autobiography as a form of political dissidence. Crucial to guildswomen’s collective autobiographical practice was writing about the reproductive body within the socio/historical context of class and gender relations from the perspective of women. As revealed in Maternity: Letters from Working Women (1915) and in Life as We Have Known It (1931), guildswomen’s life writing contested boundaries between political and domestic spheres, shifted emphasis from the individual to a collective identity, and demanded the inclusion of reproductive rights within the domain of human rights.

James B. Mitchell
Popular Autobiography as Historiography: The Reality Effect of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, p. 607

Many memoirs, in addition to participating in the discursive community of life writing, also partake in the narrative conventions of historiography and fiction, frequently employing what Roland Barthes calls a “reality effect” to infuse their stories with a sense of verisimilitude. This essay explores the cultural phenomenon that is Angela’s Ashes, reading Frank McCourt’s memoir against the grain of Carolyn Kay Steedman’s Landscape for a Good Woman. I am primarily concerned with two lines of inquiry regarding Angela’s Ashes : why is this book of history-as-memory so popular—that is, what does its raging popularity reveal about the society that consumes and champions it; and what kind of historiographical practices does the book engage in to achieve its aims of representing itself as an authentic, “true” history?

Phyllis E. Wachter and William Todd Schultz
Annual Bibliography of Works about Life Writing, 2002–2003, p. 625


Interfaces: Women, Autobiography, Image, Performance, edited by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, p. 712
Reviewed by Ellen G. Friedman

The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative, by Vivian Gornick, p. 719
Reviewed by Augusta Rohrbach

Mirages of the Selfe: Patterns of Personhood in Ancient and Early Modern Europe, by Timothy J. Reiss, p. 722
Reviewed by Hassan Melehy

Women’s Oral History: The ‘Frontiers’ Reader, edited by Susan H. Armitage, with Patricia Hart and Karen Weathermon, p. 725
Reviewed by Kathryn L. Nasstrom

Questions of Power: The Politics of Women’s Madness Narratives, by Susan J. Hubert, p. 727
Reviewed by Marta Caminero-Santangelo

Women, Death and Literature in Post-Reformation England, by Patricia Phillippy, p. 731
Reviewed by Emma Smith

Women’s Writing and the Circulation of Ideas: Manuscript Publication in England, 1550–1800, edited by George L. Justice and Nathan Tinker, p. 734
Reviewed by Paula R. Backscheider

Romantic Biography, edited by Arthur Bradley and Alan Rawes, p. 737
Reviewed by Christopher Rovee

Images du mythe, images du moi: Mélanges offerts à Marie Miguet-Ollagnier, edited by Bernard Degott and Pierre Nobel, p. 740
Reviewed by Alison Rice

Topologies of Trauma: Essays on the Limits of Knowledge and Memory, edited by Linda Belau and Petar Ramadanovic, p. 745
Reviewed by Karyn Ball

King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership, by Arthur M. Ludwig, p. 748
Reviewed by Michael Keren

The African American Male, Writing, and Difference: A Polycentric Approach to African American Literature, Criticism, and History, by W. Lawrence Hogue, p. 750
Reviewed by Nicole A. Waligora-Davis

Holy Boldness: Women Preachers’ Autobiographies and the Sanctified Self, by Susie C. Stanley, p. 755
Reviewed by Lynn Domina

Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880–1940, by Susan Bernardin, Melody Graulich, Lisa MacFarlane, and Nicole Tonkovich, p. 757
Reviewed by Bonnie Miller

Monuments and Memory: History and Representation in Lowell, Massachusetts, by Martha Norkunas, p. 760
Reviewed by Melissa McFarland Pennell

This Stubborn Self: Texas Autobiographies, 1925–2001, by Bert Almon, p. 763
Reviewed by Shelley Armitage

Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust, edited by Jeffrey Shandler, p. 766
Reviewed by Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs

The Voices of Gemma Galgani: The Life and Afterlife of a Modern Saint, by Rudolph M. Bell and Cristina Mazzoni, p. 769
Reviewed by Sharon T. Strocchia

Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories of Bengali Elders, by Katy Gardner, p. 771
Reviewed by Chris Phillipson

The Last Revolutionaries: German Communists and Their Century, by Catherine Epstein, p. 774
Reviewed by Douglas Hilt

Excerpts from recent reviews of biographies, autobiographies, and other works of interest

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INDEX, p. 841