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The Emancipatory Personal Essay? single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 The Emancipatory Personal Essay?
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'The personal essay is an art form that serves as both an expression of highly individualised specificity and as a narrative form that substantiates the individual’s access to universal subjectivity. In the personal essay, the author elevates individual specificity to the domain of universality as it is understood within the thought frameworks of liberal humanism. The personal essay is thus a ‘liberal’ art form that presupposes commonality, or universality, between human subjects. The personal essay has also been taken up as a ‘consciousness raising’ project to identify a ‘collective consciousness’ shared by author and reader alike, and in this iteration is an emancipatory political tool. In this iteration, does the expression of fractured and marginalised identities in the personal essay form undo the hegemonic thinking that produces those identities? In this paper I identify two personal essay styles, the ‘subject position-oriented personal essay’ and the ‘dialectical personal essay’, to enlarge upon the conflict inherent to the personal essay: that the friction between singular and universal subjectivities cannot be adequately accounted for by a liberal humanist art form, nor is this disjuncture always comprehended in the personal essay as it is currently practiced.' (Introduction)

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