UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The myth of "political memoir": a feminist critique Mason, Mason, Hilary Catherine Louise Hilary Catherine Louise


This thesis examines the relationship between power and knowledge in the maintenance of a separate category of historical literature labelled “political memoir.” It adopts a feminist definition of “political” and thereby challenges the fundamental dichotomy between personal and political upon which such a categorization depends. Feminist literary analysis is used to read the personal narratives of two women whose experiences would not normally qualify as “political,” and two men whose experiences as diplomats place them firmly within the tradition of “political memoir” writing. The goal of such an analysis is to demonstrate both the myriad ways in which personal experience is political and the political implications of all personal writings. In this way, the thesis “deconstructs” the concept of political memoir and reaffirms the need for a fundamental restructuring of the categories into which historical analysis has been divided.

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