ERIC Number: ED396334
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
When Memory Fails and Invention Takes Over: The Role of Fiction in Autobiographical Writing.
For one instructor, her work in autobiography began with an interest in understanding how her past has influenced her present work of teaching. Autobiography is an interpretive act and both a reunion and a release from the past. While there is commitment to truth in writing an autobiographical text, the autobiographer necessarily engages in the creative endeavor of constructing a story, involving both memory and invention. Specific details are literal truths that help in remembering, and scenes can be written in order to contrast feelings and experiences. Memory and imagination work hand in hand to forge an interpretive connection between past and present that has a more compelling claim to accuracy than mere fact. In pursuing the complicated truth, the autobiographer works with elements of craft that engage writers across a range of genres: the ability to select telling details, develop a sense of place, frame a moment in a scene, and construct a design or order out of those moments. These elements allow both the reader and the writer to occupy the world of the writer's life and the world of the text. (CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Author Text Relationship; Autobiographical Recall; Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (85th, San Diego, CA, November 16-21, 1995).