This article aims at investigating the relationship between autofiction, postmemory and historical novel in contemporary US literature through a hybrid subgenre that I would tentatively call "historiographic autofiction" - novels set in a (real or reimagined) historical past (or having to do with historiographic reconstruction) in which the author also appears as fictionalized character. By analyzing as case studies Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" and William T. Vollmann's "The Rifles", it will be possible to see how autofictional strategies applied to historical narratives apparently provide factual legitimacy to personal, reconstructed, or imagined events, while paradoxically presenting them (as well as their author/protagonist) as fictional. Putting the author's autofictional self in a historical setting lends credibility to the narration and gives the mark of sincerity and authenticity to the text, bestowing it with testimonial value. At the same time, the work's evident functionality deconstructs any actual claim of objectivity or truthfulness, stressing the inevitable manipulation and stratification of history while encouraging reflections on how past narratives influence one's identity in the act of shaping (and being shaped by) one's life story.

The Self in/and History: Historiographic Autofiction in Contemporary US Literature / Simonetti, Paolo. - In: RSA JOURNAL. - ISSN 1592-4467. - 32(2021), pp. 87-103.

The Self in/and History: Historiographic Autofiction in Contemporary US Literature

Paolo Simonetti
2021

Abstract

This article aims at investigating the relationship between autofiction, postmemory and historical novel in contemporary US literature through a hybrid subgenre that I would tentatively call "historiographic autofiction" - novels set in a (real or reimagined) historical past (or having to do with historiographic reconstruction) in which the author also appears as fictionalized character. By analyzing as case studies Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" and William T. Vollmann's "The Rifles", it will be possible to see how autofictional strategies applied to historical narratives apparently provide factual legitimacy to personal, reconstructed, or imagined events, while paradoxically presenting them (as well as their author/protagonist) as fictional. Putting the author's autofictional self in a historical setting lends credibility to the narration and gives the mark of sincerity and authenticity to the text, bestowing it with testimonial value. At the same time, the work's evident functionality deconstructs any actual claim of objectivity or truthfulness, stressing the inevitable manipulation and stratification of history while encouraging reflections on how past narratives influence one's identity in the act of shaping (and being shaped by) one's life story.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1571240
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