Today's Presentation on Autobiography

I wanted to let you know in advance, the specific autobiographies I am going to discuss with you today.  They are 1) A Woman Soldier's Own Story by Xie Bingying (2001 edition) and 2) A Woman in Berlin by an anonymous author (2005 edition).  We now know the author of the German autobiography was a journalist,  Marta Hillers. Both of these were originally published in the author's native language, Bingying's in the 40s and Marta's in the 50s.

These are the questions I hope to discuss after my presentation:

1) Does each author have an authentic female gaze or is that gaze so impacted by males as to be quite distorted?

2) Is the German autobiography more post-modern than modern?  I know little about literary post-modernism but the tone is pervasively ironic and sarcastic.  This is not the case in Bingying's autobiography.

3) To what extent do you think these books are comparable in both a historic and literary sense? Do you know other autobiographies that you think would serve as a better basis of comparison?

This is an on-line source that you can go to for some advance reading on A Woman in Berlin:

http:www.usm.maine.edu/crm/faculty/jim/raphael.htm

These are the sources which I have used other than the two autobiographies in case you want to explore them:

1) Janet Ng, The Experience of Modernity: Chinese Autobiography of the Early Twentieth Century (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2003).

2) Jing M. Wang, When "I" Was Born: Women's Autobiography in Modern China (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008).

3) Haiyan Lee, Revolution of the Heart:  A Genealogy of Love in China, 1900-1950 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007).

See you this afternoon, Meredith