Stories of the Self  


Stories of the Self
NYU Press | August 25, 2020 | 248 pages
ISBN: 9781479836666

The importance of personal storytelling in contemporary culture and politics In an age where our experiences are processed and filtered through a wide variety of mediums, both digital and physical, how do we tell our own story? How do we “get a life,” make sense of who we are and the way we live, and communicate that to others? Stories of the Self takes the literary study of autobiography and opens it up to a broad and fascinating range of material practices beyond the book, investigating the manifold ways people are documenting themselves in contemporary culture. Anna Poletti explores Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, a collection of six hundred cardboard boxes filled with text objects from the artist’s everyday life; the mid-aughts crowdsourced digital archive PostSecret; queer zine culture and its practices of remixing and collaging; and the bureaucratic processes surrounding surveillance dossiers. Stories of the Self argues that while there is a strong emphasis on the importance of personal storytelling in contemporary culture and politics, mediation is just as important in establishing the credibility and legibility of life writing. Poletti argues that the very media used for writing our lives intrinsically shapes how we are seen to matter.