Picturing Identity: Contemporary American Autobiography in Image and Text

Picturing Identity examines the intersection of writing and visual art in the autobiographical work of eight 20th and 21st-century American writers and artists–including Maus comic book author Art Spiegelman, story quilt artist Faith Ringgold, Dictée author and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Cheyenne conceptual artist Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds, illustrated memoirist Peter Najarian, book artist Julie Chen, and celebrated Laguna Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon,–each of whom employ a mix of written and visual forms of self-narration.

Combining approaches from autobiography studies and visual studies, Wong argues that grappling with the breakdown of stable definitions of identity and unmediated representation, these writers-artists experiment with hybrid autobiography in image and text to break free of inherited visual-verbal regimes and revise painful histories These works provide an interart focus for examining the possibilities of self-representation and self-narration, the boundaries of life writing, and the relationship between image and text. The writers-artists formulate webs of intersubjectivity shaped by historical trauma, geography, race, and gender as they envision new possibilities of selfhood and fresh modes of self-narration in word and image.

 

 Hertha D. Sweet Wong
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