Writing a life

John Dwyer's narrative identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

John Dwyer, a working class Sydney radical active in the period 1890-1914, felt compelled to express his being in narrative - his political aspirations and spiritual speculations, his fraught circumstances as a worker, husband and father. Dwyer's narrative is not a streamlined autobiographical statement: his surviving papers follow the upheavals and strains of his life. By exploring Dwyer's life and personal papers, this article argues that narrative identity provides a significant methodological tool for analysing the lives of historical actors, enriching traditional, materialist interpretations while avoiding the disconnection from historical experience that some critics have associated with postmodernism. The article places a stress on the dilemmas of alienation and subjectivity and explores their relationship with narrative theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-126
Number of pages18
JournalRethinking History
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Alienation
  • Australian history
  • Biography
  • Narrative identity
  • Narrative theory
  • Subjectivity

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