From Initiate to Individual: Grand Tour Narrative and Lejeunian Autobiography
Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies
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.
Sider Jost, Jacob, "From Initiate to Individual: Grand Tour Narrative and Lejeunian Autobiography" (2012). Dickinson College Faculty Publications. Paper 124.