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Living Autobiographically


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Table of Contents

1. Talking about Ourselves: The Rules of the Game Jolting Events The Case against Narrative Identity Truth or Consequences on Oprah The Narrative Identity System Narrative Rules, Identity Rules "My Father's Brain" 2. Autobiographical Consciousness: Body, Brain, Self, and Narrative Antonio Damasio and the "Movie-in-the-Brain" Doing Consciousness 3. Identity Work: People Making Stories Looking at Vermeer: "Inner" Lives and "Outer" Forces Everyday Lives "'My Father... "' The Pressure of Circumstances, the Power of Story 4. Living Autobiographically The Homeostatic Machine "Arbitrage": Andre Adman and "Remembering Remembering" Works Cited Index

About the Author

Paul John Eakin is Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University. He is the author of How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves, also from Cornell; The New England Girl: Cultural Ideals in Hawthorne, Stowe, Howells, and James; Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention; and Touching the World: Reference in Autobiography. He is the editor of The Ethics of Life Writing, also from Cornell; On Autobiography by Philippe Lejeune; and American Autobiography: Retrospect and Prospect.


"In this fascinating, lucid, and deeply humanistic extension of his earlier work on autobiography, Paul John Eakin illuminates the acts by which we become players in a dynamic narrative identity system that is fundamental to our sense of self. Eakin energetically pursues the broadest questions, deftly incorporating insights from neurobiology and anthropology to help us see the ways that autobiography is an integral, adaptive part of our experience as we live it, and of our creation of a future."-Jeffrey Wallen, Hampshire College, author of Closed Encounters: Literary Politics and Public Culture "Living Autobiographically is a wide-ranging and compelling meditation on the grounds for believing that various registers of narrative are essential to our sense of who we are. As ever, Paul John Eakin is leading reflection on life writing into new places."-David Parker, Chinese University of Hong Kong, author of The Self in Moral Space: Life Narrative and the Good

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