Biography, vol. 36, no. 2 (2013)

Biography 36.2 coverEDITORS’ NOTE, iii


A Series of Dated Traces: Diaries and Film
Christian Quendler, 339

This article investigates deep conceptual affinities between diaries and cinema by reading Philippe Lejeune’s minimal definition of the diary as a “series of dated traces” against theories of film. I propose to regard written testimonial traces and filmic documentary traces as indexes of different modes and complementary semiotic orders. This view will shed light on borrowings and exchanges between filmic documents and personal testimonies, and account for the invigorating role of the diary as a genre of personal and medial explorations.

Learning to Live Again: Contemporary US Memoir as Biopolitical Self-Care Guide
Megan C. Brown, 359

Using Michel Foucault’s concepts of biopower and “technologies of the self,” this essay argues that memoir can function as a mode of lifestyle instruction, teaching readers about self-care while enforcing and perpetuating norms of health, productivity, and attitude. In particular, memoirs about addiction, such as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Koren Zailckas’s Smashed, and James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces become biopolitical guides for living, as they explore the authors’ deviance from norms and illustrate possibilities for reentering the realm of the normal, productive, and well-managed.

“Iraq in My Bones”: Second-Generation Memory in the Age of Global Media
Jennifer Bowering Delisle, 376

This paper outlines my concept of “genealogical nostalgia,” the post-immigrant generation’s ambivalent longing for the places and stories of their parents’ birth. In her memoir The Orange Trees of Baghdad, second-generation Canadian Leilah Nadir navigates genealogical nostalgia and postmemory, articulating the unique condition of the post-immigrant generation in our globalized world.


Theoretical Discussions of Biography: Approaches from History, Microhistory, and Life Writing, edited by Hans Renders and Binne de Haan
Reviewed by Carl Rollyson, 392

L’epuisement du biographique?, edited by Vincent Broqua and Guillaume Marche
Reviewed by Joanny Moulin, 395

American Autobiography, by Rachel McLennan
Reviewed by William Boelhower, 397

Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity, edited by Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith
Reviewed by Christopher P. Lehman, 401

Literary Sisters: Dorothy West and Her Circle, A Biography of the Harlem Renaissance, by Verner D. Mitchell and Cynthia Davis
Reviewed by Rita Keresztesi, 404

Lives in Play: Autobiography and Biography on the Feminist Stage, by Ryan Claycomb
Reviewed by Jenn Stephenson, 407

Taking Care: Lessons from Mothers with Disabilities, by Mary Grimley Mason with Linda Long-Bellil
Reviewed by Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, 410

Surface Tensions: Surgery, Bodily Boundaries, and the Social Self, by Lenore Manderson
Reviewed by Alison Kafer, 412

A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust, by Mary Fulbrook
Reviewed by Avraham Barkai, 414

Triangulations: Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity, by David J. Vázquez
Reviewed by Milagros Denis-Rosario, 418

Excerpts from recent reviews of biographies, autobiographies, and other works of interest, 423