Postmodern biography as a model of (non)-communication wi th the past Cover Image

Postmoderna biografija kao model (ne)komunikacije s prošlošću
Postmodern biography as a model of (non)-communication wi th the past

Author(s): Lejla Mulalić
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Bosansko filološko društvo
Keywords: A. S. Byatt; The Biographer’s Tale; postmoderni roman; biografija; autobiografija; viktorijansko doba; fikcija/činjenice; tekstualno posredovano znanje o prošlosti; samorefleksivnost postmoderne književne teorije

Summary/Abstract: Literary and critical writing of the British author A. S. Byatt is largely dominated by the restless summoning of texts and authors from the past, which enables the reader to experience new seductive readings of historical periods over which he all too readily claims cultural possession. In her highly acclaimed novel Possession and two novellas published under the title Angels and Insects, Byatt bridges the gap between the Victorian historical reality and our knowledge thereof with fascinating reinterpretations, thus creating an illusion of the presence of the past, even if in a textual form. In The Biographer’s Tale, however, the author consciously withholds from the reader any meaningful knowledge of the past and offers in return unprocessed half-truths so as to emphasize the arbitrariness and selectivity intrinsic to the process of organizing facts into manifold versions of the past, thus also deconstructing the idea of a universal Truth about the past. The aim of this paper is to consider whether the playful undermining of biography as a thematic and formal framework of The Biographer’s Tale can result in meaningful communication with the past, as well as to locate the places where the novel both claims and renounces its own postmodernity.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 06
  • Page Range: 297-309
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Bosnian