seductions of literature: in the ‘Autobiographical Fragment’, which he composed in 1808 and revised in 1826, he described his continuing delight in
Did Mark Twain bring down the temple?
the ballads of chivalry, the ‘Delilahs of [his] imagination’ guiltily enjoyed
in secret beyond boyhood.4
In Life on the Mississippi, published a little over sixty years after Ivanhoe
in 1883, Mark Twain delivered an indictment of sorcery on Scott himself,
via the literary seduction his novels had wrought on the imagination of
the American South:
Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his
his modest autobiography is a mere essay. This has left the record of his opinions of personal
encounters somewhat sketchy. For Whitehead on Whitehead see
‘Autobiographical Notes’, in The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, ed.
Paul Arthur Schilpp, The Library of Living Philosopher, New York, Tudor
Publishing Company, 1951, pp. 1–14.
Stein, Toklas, pp. 167, 165, 166, 167.
Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography, p. 89.
Stein, Toklas, pp. 206–8.
Wagner-Martin, ‘Favored Strangers’, pp. 123.
Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, London, Macmillan,
story of the shipwrecked Alexander
Selkirk. Most critics, however, have identified a different and more
More than a game
complex relationship with the real in Robinson Crusoe than that
location in simple autobiographical or biographical reference. This
has never been a text read solely as ‘about’ one individual, whether
that individual is defined as Defoe, Crusoe, or Selkirk, but as a text
that says much about the cultural moment of its production –
whether in terms of faith, individualism, or capitalism. When Karl
by vested interests.
But my argument is not just that Hesse’s humanism is untenable and unpersuasive
Art in time of war
now, ‘after Auschwitz’, but that it was already so at the time in which he proposed it.
In fact, I believe it hardly survived the insight of autobiographical works of his own
like Steppenwolf. Without doubting Hesse’s sincerity, I’ve often wondered whether
other artists haven’t always paid lip service to the humanist defence of art by way of
licensing an aesthetic vision which they knew contravened it. One is reminded in this
Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness
conveys a sense of community,
but not of each woman as an individual. While Tsang is interested in their
stories and collaborating with some of them, their thoughts and feelings
are ultimately filtered through Tsang. In her analysis of Tsang’s attempts
to counter Paris is Burning’s ‘mistakes’, Eve Oishi similarly concludes that,
‘While a self-conscious foregrounding of the filmmaker and the apparatus
can open up a critical space for the viewer, the proliferation of autobiographical and self-reflexive representations means that this technique does
not inoculate a film
Women performers and the law in the ‘long’ Edwardian period
”’, in Martin Banham and Jane Milling, eds, Extraordinary Actors,
Exeter: Exeter University Press, pp. 97–119.
Gardner, Viv (2004b), ‘The Three Nobodies: Autobiographical Strategies in
the Work of Alma Ellerslie, Kitty Marion and Ina Rozant’, in Maggie B. Gale
and Viv Gardner, eds, Auto/biography and Identity: Women, Theatre and
Performance, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 10–38.
Gillan, Don, www.stagebeauty.net.
Gillies, Midge (2001), Marie Lloyd: The One and Only, London: Orion Books.
Hindson, Catherine (2011), ‘“Mrs Langtry seems to be on the way to a
Actresses, charity work and the early twentieth-century theatre profession
and at other fashionable fundraising events
are, without doubt, interwoven with questions related to autobiographical strategies, the significance of anecdotal evidence to historiography and
the construction of public selves which have preoccupied feminist theatre
historiographers over the past two decades (see Gale and Gardner, 2004).
Photographs, interviews and gossip columns allowed theatre’s stars to
offer tantalising glimpses of their ‘offstage’ selves at closed social occasions, including dinner parties, house parties and salons, and at public
unnamed narrator of the
romance, Urania, Liana, and Alanius. See Urania, pp. 158–60, 196–98.
31 Philip Sidney, The Old Arcadia, ed. by Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1985), p. 64 and pp. 140–42 in particular. On the identification of Philisides to Philip Sidney, see Dennis Moore, ‘Philisides and Mira:
Autobiographical Allegory in The Old Arcadia’, Spenser Studies, 3 (1982), pp.
32 Mary Wroth, ‘Love’s Victory’, in Early Modern Women’s Writings. An Anthology
1560-1700, ed. by Paul Salzman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp.
the heart and other caverns where thought and feeling dance their
sabbath’.22 By the same token, however, it would be wrong to
assume that this statement, or any other of the above statements,
give licence to read Beckett, and particularly his postwar work, in
narrowly autobiographical terms, simply as a form of confession –
or worse, therapy – at either an explicit or an unconscious level.
Nevertheless, I think there are good reasons for taking Beckett at
his word here, and examining the role of ‘feeling’ in his work.
This is particularly timely because
performance pieces – almost in homage to a Brechtian desire to make visible the mechanics that makes the theatre possible. In a straightforward way, there was an honesty about the structures of care that were needed to make this particular performance possible, which acted as a commentary on the way theatre more usually hides the means by which the performers are supported in order to come on to, and stay safe, onstage. There was no independent, entirely autonomous autobiographical performer here, but a person acutely aware of their own vulnerability and joyously presenting