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1 “Exemplary Lives”? Thoughts on Exile, Gender and Life-Writing

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Chapter Summary

This essay explores the manifold, but seldom considered interactions between exile, gender and life writing. Since its beginnings, Exile Studies has worked with life-writing practices, but its use of biographical conventions has frequently been left unquestioned. Early research deemed gender to be irrelevant, while the autobiographical discourse of exiles reinforced stereotypical assumptions about men and women. Sustained engagement with women’s history and gender theory has altered and expanded concepts of exile and biography. At the same time, biographical approaches to exile can offer insightful, transcultural perspectives for Gender Studies.



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