Autie-biografisch gelezen | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X



Within the current disability memoir boom, the popularity of autism narratives makes it almost impossible to keep up with its publication flow. This implies that there is a growing market for those stories, and indeed, several publishing companies are even specialized in these memoirs. However, when autism memoirs – also called ‘autie-biographies’ – are incorporated in research, they often merely function as ‘illustrations’ of an hypothesis, which leads to a reductive understanding and reading practice of those narratives as mere evidence for diagnostic categories. Such a diagnostic mode of reading offers almost no space for asking broader interpretative questions about different relations to language or narrative structure. In the present article, my aim is to study the complex tension between autism, language and narrativity and to propose a hypothesis about the reasons behind the dominance of the diagnostic reading mode within different research disciplines, including literary studies. I do so by focusing on the ubiquity of three recurring issues in the reception of autie-narratives: the window metaphor, the narrative identity thesis, and clinical perspectives. At stake in this research is the continual questioning of what constitutes of a self-narrative, and within this, to ask, who may and can speak, who is and can be considered to be a competent storyteller.


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