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Being Geniuses Together: Ghostwriting and the Uncanny of Robert McAlmon’s and Kay Boyle’s (Out of) Joint Autobiography
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies (from 2013). (KUFO)
2017 (English)In: European Journal of American Studies, ISSN 1991-9336, E-ISSN 1991-9336, Vol. 12, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Kay Boyle’s supplementary edition (1968) of Robert McAlmon’s Being Geniuses Together (1938) is a self-deconstructive survey of the expatriate community of English and American writers and artists in Paris in the 1920s. Boyle’s version prompts questions about originality and autobiographical truth through the way in which her chapters are alternated with McAlmon’s chapters in a post-mortem “dialogue” or ghostwriting experiment and frequently seem to bracket or undermine his version of the “same” story. I am interested in the way in which self-writing and autobiography in general, and in particular experimental forms of collaborative, queer, or “mock” autobiography, have been used to conjure up supposedly True Stories of the Lost Generation and literary Modernism. Few crowds are as famous, as notorious, as surrounded by myth, as extensively written about in various more or less autobiographical texts, as the “in” crowd of writers, artists, critics and publishers in Paris in the 1920s. The story of Modernism, often a form of contemporary self-definition, has been told and retold and contested in a chorus of autobiographical and biographical discourses competing for the right to present the True Story. In my article, I explore how McAlmon and Boyle present their shared experiences of being American writers in exile in Europe in ways which are sometimes similar and sometimes widely divergent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
European Association for American Studies , 2017. Vol. 12, no 2
Keywords [en]
Kay Boyle, Robert McAlmon, autobiography, modernism, ghostwriting, collaborative autobiography
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74860DOI: 10.4000/ejas.12051ISI: 000419268500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-74860DiVA, id: diva2:1354814
Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-09-26 Last updated: 2019-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://journals.openedition.org/ejas/12051

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Linzie, Anna

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