Recent studies in early modern english life writing

Michelle M. Dowd, Julie A. Eckerle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This essay surveys scholarship on English life writing from 1971 through 2008. Critical interest in life writing, a category which includes a wide range of genres that involve writing about the self and theorizing about self-writing, has yielded feminist, historicist, social, formalist, and manuscript-based approaches to this body of material, to name just a few of the most prominent trends. In particular, the study of life writing has been invigorated but also challenged by changing definitions of "autobiography" and an increasing willingness to recognize multiple genres and combinations of genres as life writing. Other important trends over the past few decades include a continuing study of women's self-narratives, greater understanding of the significance of manuscript culture to life writing, and attention to the historical development of subject formation. This vibrant body of scholarship suggests rich possibilities for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-162
Number of pages31
JournalEnglish Literary Renaissance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2010


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