Autobiography is based on a paradox. It is a generic representation of identity, but identity and genre appear to be antithetical. If we conventionally think of our identity as unique (singular, autonomous and self-made), how then can the presentation of that identity be generic? How, when narrating our lives, can we be both singular and understandable? Does narrating a life presuppose a way of writing (that is, a genre) that will make it recognisable as a story of a life? And how individual can we be, given that we are social animals? We live in families, form attachments and belong to institutions. How much is identity a case of identifying with others?
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