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Whose life is it anyway? Practice-based research into performed fictional-autobiography and the paradox of fiction

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This article explores the notion of ‘self’ as it pertains to autobiographical writing, and its repercussions for the fact/fiction dichotomy inherent in autobiographical praxis. The mode of articulation is a discussion of the reception of two one-man plays: Memoires of a Confused Man (2016) and Are Strings Attached? (2017). Both plays are written and performed by this writer. Drawing on philosophical, cognitive and spiritual discourses, I show that ‘selfhood’ is not a transparent and unproblematic proposition. I then re-examine the so-called paradox of fiction. I argue that it is common experience to care about notional entities and suggest that this comes about by way of ‘transfictional disavowal’ and ‘affective metalepsis’. Finally, I offer an exemplary text, read first as ‘fiction’, and then as ‘autobiography’. I then propose a new modality of the ‘paradox of fiction’, which offers a satisfactory reading position of autobiographical writings based on a re-evaluation of ‘selfhood’.
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Keywords: affective metalepsis; autobiography; monologue; paradox of fiction; performance; self; theatre

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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