TÜRKBİLİM, cilt.2, ss.1-14, 2014 (Hakemli Üniversite Dergisi)
Autobiographical writing has been seeking its definition and validity in terms of its assumed authorial identity and conduct with reality since its acceptance as a literary genre in early eighteenth century. Its definition has caused controversies mostly on the matters of authorship, selfhood, representation and the division between fact and fiction. Nevertheless, notion of autobiographical selfhood can be traced back through a longer historical process beginning from Ancient Greece to Christianity; from Renaissance to Protestant Reformation. Thus, through this historical lineage, a peculiar notion of selfhood was identified with the modernization process in the West. In this respect, autobiographies have been unique sources as they provide a wide range of historical and cultural perspectives for today‟s researchers. This study aims to analyze the transformation of Western selfhood from traditional autobiography to its challenging projections within contemporary women‟s life writing. To begin with, traditional critics of autobiography will be introduced with reference to their perspectives on autobiography as a literary genre. Following this section, contemporary critics of language and culture will be surveyed through their questionings on the notions of authorship and representation. Lastly, contemporary women‟s life writing, which has projected challenging views on the relationship between autobiographical self and the patriarchal hierarchies of Western culture, will be explored.
Key Words: Autobiography, Selfhood, Women‟s Life Writing