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‘Autie-Biographies’: Life Writing Genres and Strategies from an Autistic Perspective

L. Van Goidsenhoven,

Academic Literature


The proliferation of life writings written by people on the autism spectrum is a relatively recent phenomenon and has quickly become the touchstone for autism culture. Cultural and literary studies have gradually acknowledged these autism narratives. Is it possible to approach them as a new subgenre within life writing or disability narratives, and if so, what are its distinctive features and what could this labelling possibly imply? Constructing corpora is not an exclusively formalistic definitional act or tool, but also a significant method in which to explore the functioning and cultural value of personal narratives. In order to do justice to this diverse corpus of autism self-narratives, three perspectives and theoretical frames are taken into account: (1) a more traditional or textual genre perspective, (2) a pragmatic genre perspective, and (3) a socio-rhetorical genre perspective. As a case study, two extreme poles on the autie-biography-spectrum are analysed and compared: the Australian author, Donna Williams, and the Belgian author, Schipper Landschip. The two cases testify to the diversity, potentiality and dynamics of an emerging corpus. © Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association 2017

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Language, Literature and Culture

Domain/s: Community and civic participation

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