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Contesting Childhood: Autobiography, Trauma, and Memory

Kate Douglas

2010

The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a surge in the publication and popularity of autobiographical writings about childhood. Linking literary and cultural studies, "Contesting Childhood" draws on a varied selection of works from a diverse range of authors - from first-time to experienced writers. Kate Douglas explores Australian accounts of the Stolen Generation, contemporary American and British narratives of abuse, the best-selling memoirs of Andrea Ashworth, Augusten Burroughs, Robert Drewe, Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Dave Pelzer, and Lorna Sage, among many others. Drawing on trauma and memory studies and theories of authorship and readership, "Contesting Childhood" offers commentary on the triumphs, trials, and tribulations that have shaped this genre. Douglas examines the content of the narratives and the limits of their representations, as well as some of the ways in which autobiographies of youth have become politically important and influential. This study enables readers to discover how stories configure childhood within cultural memory and the public sphere.