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The autobiographer as egoist

Some Thoughts on Autobiography

I have been known to opine that autobiography is clearly the most egotistical of the literary arts. It has to say something about a person’s idea of his or her own importance to think that their fellow beings are thirstily waiting for their quenching lives. Even if true, there has got to be an inflated sense of self to haul out the hose.

That said I am still a reader of autobiography.

There are those that see in their lives lessons for the rest of us. These are the mistakes I made; don’t you make them. This is the way I did it; you can do it too.

There are those that seek absolution through confession. There are those who look for fame by shocking us with their refusal to bow to convention.

But the best are those genial story tellers with a twinkle in their eye, the ones that don’t seem to take themselves all that seriously. In that vein, take a look at Irish writer Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody? It’s as entertaining a piece of self effacing self promotion as any reader could want.

About Jack Goodstein

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