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An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using autofiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fictive elements. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction. Because an autobiographical novel is partially fiction, the author does not ask the reader to expect the text to fulfill the "autobiographical pact".Names and locations are often changed and events are recreated to make them more dramatic but the story still bears a close resemblance to that of the author's life. While the events of the author's life are recounted, there is no pretense of exact truth. Events may be exaggerated or altered for artistic or thematic purposes.
Novels that portray settings and/or situations with which the author is familiar are not necessarily autobiographical. Neither are novels that include aspects drawn from the author's life as minor plot details. To be considered an autobiographical novel by most standards, there must be a protagonist modeled after the author and a central plotline that mirrors events in his or her life.
Novels that do not fully meet these requirements or are further distanced from true events are sometimes called semi-autobiographical novels.
Many novels about intense, private experiences such as war, family conflict or sex, are written as autobiographical novels.
Some works openly refer to themselves as 'nonfiction novels.' The definition of such works remains vague. The term was first widely used in reference to the non-autobiographical In Cold Blood by Truman Capote but has since become associated with a range of works drawing openly from autobiography. The emphasis is on the creation of a work that is essentially true, often in the context of an investigation into values or some other aspect of reality. The books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and The Tao of Muhammad Ali by Davis Miller open with statements admitting to some fictionalising of events but state they are true 'in essence.'
An autobiography is a self-written account of one's life. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic". However, its next recorded use was in its present sense, by Robert Southey in 1809. Despite only being named early in the nineteenth century, first-person autobiographical writing originates in antiquity. Roy Pascal differentiates autobiography from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing by noting that "[autobiography] is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, while the diary, however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time". Autobiography thus takes stock of the autobiographer's life from the moment of composition. While biographers generally rely on a wide variety of documents and viewpoints, autobiography may be based entirely on the writer's memory. The memoir form is closely associated with autobiography but it tends, as Pascal claims, to focus less on the self and more on others during the autobiographer's review of their own life.
Gertrude Stein was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the Allegheny West neighborhood and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson and Henri Matisse, would meet.
Alice Babette Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century, and the life partner of American writer Gertrude Stein.
Roman à clef, French for novel with a key, is a novel about real life events that is overlaid with a façade of fiction. The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the "key" is the relationship between the nonfiction and the fiction. This metaphorical key may be produced separately—typically as an explicit guide to the text by the author—or implied, through the use of epigraphs or other literary techniques.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (ZAMM) is a book by Robert M. Pirsig first published in 1974. It is a work of fictionalized autobiography, and is the first of Pirsig's texts in which he explores his "Metaphysics of Quality".
Tropic of Cancer is a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as "notorious for its candid sexuality" and as responsible for the "free speech that we now take for granted in literature". It was first published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States. Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. by Grove Press led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene. It is regarded as an important work of 20th-century literature.
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a book by Gertrude Stein, written in October and November of 1932 and published in 1933. It employs the form of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, her life partner. In 1998, Modern Library ranked it as one of the 20 greatest English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Henri-Pierre Roché was a French author who was deeply involved with the artistic avant-garde in Paris and the Dada movement.
Tropic of Capricorn is a semi-autobiographical novel by Henry Miller, first published by Obelisk Press in Paris in 1939. A prequel of sorts to Miller's first published novel, 1934's Tropic of Cancer, it was banned in the United States until a 1961 Justice Department ruling declared that its contents were not obscene.
Samuel Morris Steward, also known as Phil Andros, Phil Sparrow, and many other pseudonyms, was a poet, novelist, and university professor who left the world of academia to become a tattoo artist and pornographer.
Joyce Johnson is an American author of fiction and nonfiction. She was born Joyce Glassman in 1935 to a Jewish family in New York City and raised in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, a few blocks from the apartment of Joan Vollmer Adams where William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac lived from 1944 to 1946. She was a child actress and appeared in the Broadway production of I Remember Mama, which she writes about in her 2004 memoir Missing Men.
Andrew Bromfield is a British editor and translator of Russian works. He is a founding editor of the Russian literature journal Glas, and has translated into English works by Boris Akunin, Vladimir Voinovich, Irina Denezhkina, Victor Pelevin, and Sergei Lukyanenko, among other writers.
The non-fiction novel is a literary genre which, broadly speaking, depicts real historical figures and actual events woven together with fictitious conversations and uses the storytelling techniques of fiction. The non-fiction novel is an otherwise loosely defined and flexible genre. The genre is sometimes referred to using the slang term "faction", a portmanteau of the words fact and fiction.
In literary criticism, Autofiction is a form of fictionalized autobiography.
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909. That he never won is a major controversy.
Samuel R. Delany, nicknamed "Chip", is an American author and literary critic. His work includes fiction, memoir, criticism and essays on science fiction, literature, sexuality, and society.
27 rue de Fleurus was the home of the American writer Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas from 1903 to 1938. It is in the 6th arrondissement of Paris on the Left Bank. It was also the home of Gertrude's brother Leo Stein for a time in the early 20th century. It was a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for avant-garde artists and writers, notably Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
Autobiografiction is a literary fiction genre that blends autobiography with fiction; it fictionalizes autobiographical experiences, often by altering them, attributing them to fictional characters or reinventing them into other experiences. The concept of autobiografiction was invented by Stephen Reynolds in 1906, and then researched and described in depth by Max Saunders in 2010.
Now and Then: a memoir of vocation (1983), is the second of four partial autobiographies written by Frederick Buechner. Published in 1983, the work describes the author’s life from his conversion to Christianity in 1953, at the age of twenty-seven, up to his residency in Vermont at the age of fifty-seven.