Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Me, Thyself and I: Dependency and the Issues of Authenticity and Authority in Christy Brown's My Left Foot and Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer and Steven B. Kaplan's I Raise My Eyes To Say Yes

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2007), 1, (2), 42–54.

Abstract

Autobiography has been characterised by literary disability scholars as an unsatisfactory vehicle for documenting the disability experience, both on account of its format's tendency to individualise disability, and its broader ideological association with a model of liberal humanism that increasingly appears incompatible with the values of disability rights. This is further complicated by the issue of dependency, when a disabled subject's impairment is such that he or she is reliant on an (often able-bodied) collaborator to write an autobiography. This essay examines two such autobiographies from different historical periods, Christy Brown's My Left Foot and Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer and Steven B. Kaplan's I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes, in order to explore the issues of authority and authenticity that arise from such collaborations, and to assess the interaction of the problematic genre of autobiography and the problematic concept of dependence.

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Author details

Coogan, Tom