DIANE P. FREEDMAN
AND OLIVIA FREY
The ‘‘I’’ implicated here is very precise, yet more than half unspeakable. Its descriptors
are not mere political trading chips.They are vectors, interlocked with energy, joy, im-
and socially formed.
—Rachel Blau DuPlessis, ‘‘Reader, I Married Me: A Polygynous Memoir’’
In atomic physics,we can never speak about naturewithout, at the same time, speaking
—Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics
WHY THIS BOOK?
Inthewakeofourbook The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criti-
cism (Duke,1993), we continued to wonder about the place and impact of
autobiography and subjectivity in the work of scholars across the disci-
plines. What are the relations between life stories and the subjects, ap-
proaches, arguments, results, and writing styles of these researchers and
scholars? How do personal experience and disciplinary choices intersect?
What are some of the bases for the writing conventions in various disci-
plines and, if these practices have changed,what forces within and among
disciplines are precipitating change?
In Autobiographical Writing across the Disciplines: A Reader,weexplorethese
questions through writings from the humanities and arts, social sciences,
sciences, and the spaces in between. The twenty-six essays and excerpts
edge—in disciplines such as literary studies, theater, ethnic studies, reli-