(Re)creating the Past : Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively


MÍŠA Patrik

Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Experimentations in (auto)biographical writing, including transgressions towards fiction, started to appear in the Anglophone literature early during the modernist era, and are also present in the postmodern writing. One of the examples of this literary form is Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, a fictional autobiography of Claudia Hampton, a former war correspondent. Claudia's endeavour presents her own personal history in a highly fragmented and ambiguous form, which disregards the time chronology, and repeatedly shows the same events from multiple points of view. In a truly postmodern fashion, the text constantly reminds the reader of how a subjective interpretation of facts is unavoidable and of how flexible the truth can be. The presentation shows how Lively transcends the boundaries of the genre of fictional autobiography, and creates a text that builds on memories and at the same time casts doubt upon their reliability. The form of the text itself denies the idea of authoritative truth, and presents each singular event in Claudia's life, in fact, as a sum of multiple perspectives. The presentation draws the attention to how this (post)modern approach opens the text to the readers' personal interpretations, and enables them to construct their own versions of Claudia's past.
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