ISSN 1556-6757


SJI 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 
 
 
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2009
 
 
Is That an Autobiography? Channeling Wittgenstein’s Family Resemblances in Self-Life Writing
Ronald J. Tulley

Abstract
Autobiography is often construed as a loose category containing works as diverse as Montaigne’s essays, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” and Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. While these works share certain elements, what makes a text an “autobiography” as opposed to simply an “autobiographical” text? Channeling Wittgenstein’s idea of family resemblances and using three texts traditionally labeled as autobiography from three historical periods, this essay traces the features these texts share to develop an argument for a prototypical autobiography. Full Article