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Unveiling the female `I' : autobiographies by Australian women born in the 1920s

Holzer, Valarie 1991 , 'Unveiling the female `I' : autobiographies by Australian women born in the 1920s', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study fulfils the need for research into
autobiographies of writers who have a number ot common
traits which will provide specific conclusions about
the art of autobiography. Unveiling the Female ' I' ;
Autobiographies by Australian Women Born in the 1920s
looks at works by fourteen writers who share the same
nationality, gender and decade of birth.
The Introduction documents the elusiveness of
women's autobiographies and briefly surveys the
critical situation to date, noting the lack of
consensus in just what an autobiography is. Criteria
have been established for extracting women's
autobiographies from the large range of female
autobiographical writings and the validity of the
linguistic devices used to examine these works is
Working from the proposition by Chodorow that
women are defined through process and by "other".
Chapter 1 looks at character and style in four autobiographies
of childhood to establish how this
forms the identity ot Australian women born in the
Chapter 2 discusses two autobiographies of
childhood which focus on other aspects of personal
development: Spence's Another October Child presents a
portrait of the development of a writer and Lindsay's Portrait of Pa is argued to be an autobiograpby of Jane
rather than a biography or Norman Lindsay.
The life stories of adults treated in Chapter 3
demonstrate the fallacy of the "quest" metaphor for female
writers and offer other life metaphors as more
appropriate for conveying their truths of identity.
The position of women in Australian society has
received close attention in recent years, and the
autobiographies by migrant and Aboriginal women which
are the topic of Chapter 4 illustrate their alienation
through their lack of cultural experience. Place
becomes cultural as well as physical for these women.
Dorothy Hewett's recently published Wild Card both
confirms and confounds the pattern of Australian
women's autobiography depicting the same period in a
highly and elaborately patterned way. Chapter 5
examines its statement about the role of truth in
Chapter 6 continues this direction and breaks new
ground by looking at the implications of "naming" and
photographs in both the structural and metaphoric
strands of the re-creation of identity.
The Conclusion considers how Australian women born
in the 1920s see their world and their values in
comparison with the male view of history. The study
draws together the threads of identity, world and truth
as represented in these self- life-writings.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Holzer, Valarie
Keywords: Women authors, Australian, Australian literature
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 1991 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1992

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