Searching for a New Self: Truth-­Telling and Double Vision in Joseph Brodsky’s Essay In a Room and a Half (1985)


Autobiographical essay
In a Room and a Half
Exilic discourse


This article discusses Joseph Brodsky’s 1985 autobiographical essay In a Room and a Half. It argues that the use of the exilic discourse in the essay enables Brodsky to subvert the genre of autobiography as it was defined during the Enlightenment. His life story does not aspire to universalise. It attempts to reconcile the truth-­telling mnemonic writing with the attainment of a new identity that recognises his place within the Russian and the English speaking traditions, and takes account of postmodernist theories related to historicity, ethnic identity and the decentred subject.
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