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Inscribed Identities Autobiography is a long established literary modality of self exposure with commanding works such as Augustine's Confessions Rousseau's book of the same title and Salvador Dal's paradoxical reformulation of that title in his Unspeakable Confessions Like all genres with a distinguished career autobiography has elicited a fair amount of critical and theoretical reflection Classic works by Kte Hamburger and Philippe Lejeune in the 1960s and 70s articulated distinctions and similarities between fiction and the genre of personal declaration Especially since Foucault's seminal essay on Self Writing self production through writing has become versatile gaining a broader range of expression diversifying its social function and colonizing new media of representation For this reason it seems appropriate to speak of life writing as a concept that includes but is not limited to classic autobiography Awareness of language's performativity permits us to read life writing texts not as a record but as the space where the self is realized or in some instances de realized Such texts can build identity but they can also contest ascribed identity by producing alternative or disjointed scenarios of identification And they not only relate to the present but may also act upon the past by virtue of their retrospective effects in the confluence of narrator and witness

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