Biography, vol. 33, no. 4 (2010)

Biography 33.4 coverEditors’ Note, iii


American Neoconfessional: Memoir, Self-Help, and Redemption on Oprah’s Couch
Leigh Gilmore, 657

This essay reads the scandal surrounding James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces as part of a developing brand, the American neoconfessional, and questions how memoirs, as part of this brand, present “reading in public” as a mode of civic engagement that teaches readers to consume and judge “similar others.” The redemption narrative is the preferred story in this brand, with its links to the American dream, and its promotion centers normativity as an uninspected value in life narrative. The norming of life narrative away from the complexities of racial and gendered histories of harm influences the recent shift in the memoir market toward self-help discourse. Drawing on Lauren Berlant, autobiography studies, and scholarship on Oprah Winfrey, this essay theorizes how celebrity and sentimentality intersect with nonnormative life stories and anti-confessional discourse in recent memoirs.

Wampum Belts and Tomahawks on an Irish Estate: Constructing an Irish Imperial Identity in the Eighteenth Century
Beth Fowkes Tobin, 680

Sir John Caldwell collected Native American artifacts while he served in the British military during the American Revolution. Caldwell used his collection to construct an image of himself as a military officer whose cultural encounters with Native Americans prepared him to be flexible in his exercise of the sometimes precarious and often contested authority of an Anglo-Irish landowner.

Annual Bibliography of Works about Life Writing, 2009–2010
Phyllis E. Wachter, 714

Biography: A Very Short Introduction, by Hermione Lee
Reviewed by James C. Klagge, 847

Regard for the Other: Autothanatography in Rousseau, De Quincey, Baudelaire, and Wilde, by E. S. Burt
Reviewed by Virginia E. Swain, 850

Contesting Childhood: Autobiography, Trauma, and Memory, by Kate Douglas
Reviewed by Janice Haaken, 853

Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England, by Jean M. O’Brien
Reviewed by Lucy Maddox, 856

Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory, by Brett Ashley Kaplan
Reviewed by Gerd Bayer, 857

Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination, by Björn Krondorfer
Reviewed by John D. Barbour, 860

Finding the Historical Christ, by Paul Barnett
Reviewed by Craig A. Evans, 863

The Literature of the Irish in Britain: Autobiography and Memoir, 1725–2001, by Liam Harte
Reviewed by José Lanters, 866

Nine Wartime Lives: Mass-Observation and the Making of the Modern Self, by James Hinton
Reviewed by Marina MacKay, 868

Excerpts from recent reviews of biographies, autobiographies, and other works of interest, 871


Biography 1–33 (1978–2010)
Aiko Yamashiro, 914


INDEX TO VOLUME 33 (2010), 1040