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Reading African American Autobiography
Twenty-First-Century Contexts and Criticism
Edited by Eric D. Lamore

Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography
William L. Andrews, Series Editor


Fresh looks at life narratives, from the 1760s to Barack Obama

This timely volume embraces and interprets the increasingly broad and deep canon of life narratives by African Americans. The contributors discover and recover neglected lives, texts, and genres, enlarge the wide range of critical methods used by scholars to study these works, and expand the understanding of autobiography to encompass photography, comics, blogs, and other modes of self-expression. This book also examines at length the proliferation of African American autobiography in the twenty-first century, noting the roles of digital genres, remediated lives, celebrity lives, self-help culture, non-Western religious traditions, and the politics of adoption.

The life narratives studied range from an eighteenth-century criminal narrative, a 1918 autobiography, and the works of Richard Wright to new media, graphic novels, and a celebrity memoir from Pam Grier.


Eric D. LamoreEric D. Lamore is an associate professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. He is the editor of Teaching Olaudah Equiano’s Narrative: Pedagogical Strategies and New Perspectives and coeditor of New Essays on Phillis Wheatley.

Contributors: Lynn A. Casmier-Paz, Brian Cremins, Tracy Curtis, Kwakiutl L. Dreher, Marina Fedosik, Anthony S. Foy, Linda Furgerson Selzer, Eric D. Lamore, Joycelyn K. Moody, Susan Scott Parrish



“These provocative essays reveal the exciting state of African American autobiographical studies. The critical approaches explored here—from new-media studies and eco-criticism to reading the interplay between visual and verbal autobiographical acts—not only frame and interpret the life narratives proliferating within today’s digital and popular cultures, they enliven classic literary texts for a contemporary age.”
—Angela Ards, author of Words of Witness

“Timely and superb, these essays bring our engagement with African American autobiography—life writing—into this century, urging new approaches to the early literature while guiding us in creative, interdisciplinary assessments of contemporary narratives including comics, online lives, and ‘fluid texts.’ This volume makes us better readers—and quite possibly better writers—of life narratives.”
—Robert B. Stepto, Yale University


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Of Related Interest

Words of Witness

Words of Witness
Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown Era
Angela A. Ards

A Muslim American Slave

A Muslim American Slave
The Life of Omar Ibn Said
Omar Ibn Said, translated from the Arabic, edited, and with an introduction by Ala Alryyes

Reading African American Autobiography
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January 2017
LC: 2016012950 PS
296 pp. 6⅛ x 9¼
12 b/w illus.

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Casebound $74.95s
ISBN 978-0-299-30980-0
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