Character and Conversion in Autobiography: Augustine, Montaigne, Descartes, Rousseau, and Sartre
Patrick RileyISBN: 0813922925;
Book DescriptionWhat happens, asks Patrick Riley, when a life transformed becomes an autobiography? What is the relationship between the subjective upheaval of conversion and the representation of character? Who, then, is this "self" writing the narrative of a life? Thinking of conversion as a radical turning point or fulcrum on which incompatible configurations of character are precariously balanced, Riley examines both historically and tropologically the paradoxes of identity and life writing that conversion raises. While conversion can motivate the writing of an autobiography that ties together threads of a life story, it also implies a fragmentation of character. As it creates a unified framework for the subject's history, it also disrupts any stableconception of the self. Beginning with Augustine's Confessions as the canonical model of religious conversion, the author investigates the changing forms of conversion in selected works by Montaigne and Descartes, culminating in...
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