The analysis of life-writing as a distinct and specialized project emerged only in the second half of the twentieth century. That it has achieved both academic respectability and critical cachet over the last twenty-five years is the result of a number of trends. Politically 'progressive' tendencies, from the civil rights, workers' educational and second-wave women's movements, to the establishment of sociology, social history and interdisciplinary women's and 'race' studies, have appealed to 'experience', via the production and dissemination of personal testimony, life-narratives, autobiographical manifestos, as the basis for consciousness-raising and as a challenge to dominant accounts of the social world. At the same time, paradoxically, neo-conservative celebrations of individual choice, personal entitlement, consumer power, have reinstated the 'unique' self and its representation at the heart of many late-capitalist cultures. This collection covers all of these schools of thought and brings together both 'mainstream' and 'dissident' theorists, authors and texts. With a new introduction by the editor, an index and a chronological table of contents, this collection will be a unique and unrivalled research resource for both student and scholar.