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Narrating the Jazz Life: Three Approaches to Jazz Autobiography

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There were over 40 African American jazz autobiographies published between 1936 and 1996, texts which approached their protagonist and his/her history from a variety of angles. This article explores the genre of jazz autobiography from the perspective of narrative, suggesting three approaches: epic, mythic and labyrinthine. A close reading of a small number of jazz autobiographies highlights a diverse range of stylistic and structural devices and focuses on the historical and hierarchical personas within them.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-07-01

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