Title

From Initiate to Individual: Grand Tour Narrative and Lejeunian Autobiography

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2012

Department

English

Language

English

Publication Title

Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies

Abstract

Two broad approaches characterize the scholarship of autobiography. One tradition, exemplified by Georg Misch's four-volume Geschichte der Autobiographie (1949-69), sees autobiography as a transhistorical mode with deep roots in the Western literary tradition; Misch's treatment runs from Socrates to Carlyle. More recent scholarship has tended to see autobiography as a genre with a specific history and a point of origin. This is the approach of Michael Mascuch, for instance, whose 1997 Origins of the Individualist Self dates the first autobiography quite precisely; Mascuch gives the honor to James Lackington's 1791 Memoirs. This study shares the assessment of Mascuch and many others that autobiography is in a mean­ingful sense an eighteenth-century invention. Its purpose is not, however, to retell the story of the emergence of autobiography, much less set a date to it, but rather to use the concepts of recent autobiographical theory to identify and describe a hitherto underanalyzed predecessor, the British tour narrative.

Comments

Published as:
Sider Jost, Jacob. "From Initiate to Individual: Grand Tour Narrative and Lejeunian Autobiography." Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies 3 (2012): 95-118.

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