The Serial Mythology of a Non-Representative Self: Rebecca Brown’s Life Writing



In this article, I will point to several striking parallels that can be drawn between the I-narrators in Rebecca Brown’s oeuvre. These parallels add up to create a personal myth, and they allow us to read the work of this contemporary lesbian author as a serial autobiography. Tracing her autobiographical voice, we can see how Brown’s work upsets generic conventions through the narrators’ namelessness, through the implication that there is no end to autobiography, or through the insight that the truth about one’s self and one’s past is hard to capture because it is inevitably perspectival. The impossibility of attaining this kind of truth ties in with what I see as Brown’s distinctive way of handling a problem of representation that other life writers with marginalized identities tend to deal with rather differently. After all, when Brown’s lesbian self-referential narrators make no effort to hide the difficulty of relating personal recollections and resort to their own idiosyncratic ways of commenting on the unreliability of memory, they upset certain expectations about a narrator’s authority and representativeness that continue to be prompted by autobiographical texts of authors who work from a marginal subject position.

Keywords: rebecca brown, life writing, fictional autobiography, lesbian writing

How to Cite: Xhonneux, L. (2012) “The Serial Mythology of a Non-Representative Self: Rebecca Brown’s Life Writing”, Authorship. 2(1). doi: