Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Autistic autobiography or autistic life narrative?

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2008), 2, (1), 44–54.

Abstract

The article offers an overview of autistic autobiography and suggests that, when studying disability life narratives, attention to the relations of production will help to assess the importance of traditional autobiographical texts in facilitating attitudinal change. Exploring the notion of relationality, the article argues that intertextual references within a substantial segment of autistic autobiography render the corpus testimonio. As such, autistic life narratives exceed the individualisation of autobiography, asserting a communal response through the repetition of similar experiences represented across a variety of autistic life narratives. This corroboration inverts power relations by attesting to the ordinariness and intentionality of autistic action, actions that in other sites of articulation would be pathologised and dismissed. The article also demonstrates how the unusual material conditions of publication afford people with autism a unique opportunity to convert autobiographical 'truth' into autistic authority, as autobiographers go on to author instructional texts based on the validation of their autistic experiences.

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Author details

Rose, Irene