Writing the celebrity pseudo-autobiography

Hauntings in Ellis and Ellroy

Siobhan Lyons*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pseudo-autobiography is an intriguing yet underexplored genre in literature and media. Combining both fictional and truthful elements, it subverts notions of what is expected in conventional autobiography by privileging the fictional over the truth. While conventional autobiography has proved to be a popular genre among stars and celebrity authors, certain authors have instead used the pseudo-autobiography as a method through which to deconstruct their mediated persona and manufacture their own sense of self. Bret Easton Ellis's Lunar Park and James Ellroy's The Hilliker Curse are both pseudo-autobiographies that purposefully disrupt the conventions of autobiography in an effort to undo the public's construction of their celebrity personas. Through the lens of pseudo-autobiography, an author is able to deliberately deceive and confuse the reader by utilizing both fact and fiction to create a hyperreal autobiographical narrative. This paper discusses, with reference to ideas of testimony, truth and the autobiographical pact, how the pseudo-autobiography proves more useful than conventional autobiography for celebrity authors whose personas have been manufactured in the media. More so than conventional autobiography, the pseudo-autobiography functions as a platform on which authors can construct their own hyperreal identity in an effort to undermine the public's creation of their identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-689
Number of pages12
JournalContinuum
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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