The Gaze of the Other: Acknowledging Autofiction

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2023-05-01

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Abstract

Autofiction, an emerging subgenre of contemporary literary fiction, has received attention in the last fifteen years for its depiction of the author’s life in a so-called fictional context. There are many viewpoints arguing for what makes something autofiction, but they tend to revolve around the level of factual truth contained in the work. This project argues that the question of how much a work of autofiction resembles an author’s life has critics and readers stuck in an unhelpful picture of what autofiction is. Importantly, this picture obscures the type of response these works demand from the reader. This project argues that we can better understand autofiction by examining the philosophical concepts it brings to life. Through examining the works of two exemplars of autofiction, Rachel Cusk and Karl Ove Knausgaard, this project shows how concepts of subjectivity, acknowledgement, and a rejection of skepticism combine in autofiction to steer away from a way of thinking rooted in narrative and towards something new.

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Frye, Tiffany (2023). The Gaze of the Other: Acknowledging Autofiction. Capstone project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30355.


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