Macquarie University
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The power of the literary image: mediating memory and managing emotion in the literary memoirs of Virginia Woolf and Helen Garner

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:13 authored by Merril Ann Howie
Despite wide scholarly consensus regarding our long-standing penchant for autobiographical literature, further critical work is needed to more clearly apprehend and articulate the interplay between particular narrative techniques and cognitive processes that combine to invite such enthusiastic readerly engagements with life writing texts. My Master of Research project - focusing specifically on the literary memoir - aims to identify and explicate a number of potent contributing factors that drive and motivate our ongoing readerly predilection for skillfully written autobiographical narratives. This transdisciplinary cognitive literary study examines selected passages from the literary memoirs of Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) ('Moments of Being') and Helen Garner (1942- ('True Stories and Everywhere I Look'). It focuses specifically on textual representations of memory, emotion and empathy, three components crucial not only to both effective and affective portrayals of life narratives, but also to self understanding and the creation of personal narratives beyond writing, in lived experience.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1: Portraying and engendering memory in autobiographical narrative -- Chapter 2: The power and potential of emotion in life narratives -- Chapter 3: Empathy in life writing – feeling for our former selves.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 85-92

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Antonina Harbus


Copyright Merril Ann Howie 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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