Abstract

The essay provides an overview of the essays in the special issue, Modernist Life Narrative: Biography, Autobiography, Bildungsroman, arguing that considering the forms together, along with film and graphic narratives, brings out significant common features. It explores with reference to the essays and to several works not treated in them various features modernist life narratives share, including failure (especially of social integration) as success, development as deformation, nonlinear temporality, and identity as fluid (rather than singular) and as opaque, or masked. Modernist life narrative’s persistence after World War II is addressed with regard to film, American fiction, and postcolonial writing.

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