The Inner I: British Literary Autobigraphy of the Twentieth Century
by Brian Finney
Although many works of autobiography exist, few works on autobiography have been written, and no single book has ever before been devoted to English ... Show synopsis Although many works of autobiography exist, few works on autobiography have been written, and no single book has ever before been devoted to English literary autobiographies of the twentieth century. This incisive study of selected autobipgraphical works by British novelists, poets, and playwrights begins with "Versions of Truth," in which Finney set out to demonstrate--using among others the works of W.H. Davies, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad, and Christopher Isherwood--the extent to which autobiographical narrative, like other forms of narrative, makes heavy use of aesthetic criteria even when the writer is most concerned with giving a completely honest version of the facts. The second section, "In Search of Self," reviews the ways modern autobiographers have chosen to portray themselves ased on psychoanalytical insights peculiar to the 20th century. Employing the theories of Freud and Jung, Finney reads the autobiographies of Edmund Gosse, W.B. Yeats, H.G. Wells, Stephen Spender, and others to demonstrate the nature of the insights psychology has to offer readers and writers of 20th-century autobiography.