As Told By Herself: Women's Childhood Autobiography, 1845-1969

Lorna Martens

As Told By Herself: Women's Childhood Autobiography, 1845-1969
University of Wisconsin Press
United States
25 October 2022

As Told By Herself: Women’s Childhood Autobiography, 1845-1969

Lorna Martens

As Told by Herself offers the first systematic study of women’s autobiographical writing about childhood. More than 175 works-primarily from English-speaking countries and France, as well as other European countries-are presented here in historical sequence, allowing Lorna Martens to discern and reveal patterns as they emerge and change over time. What do the authors divulge, conceal, and emphasize? How do they understand the experience of growing up as girls? How do they understand themselves as parts of family or social groups, and what role do other individuals play in their recollections? To what extent do they concern themselves with issues of memory, truth, and fictionalization?

Stopping just before second-wave feminism brought an explosion in women’s childhood autobiographical writing, As Told by Herself explores the genre’s roots and development from the mid-nineteenth century, and recovers many works that have been neglected or forgotten. The result illustrates how previous generations of women-in a variety of places and circumstances-understood themselves and their upbringing, and how they thought to present themselves to contemporary and future readers.

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