Autofiction as a Reflexive Mode of Thought: Implications for Personal Development

  • Celia Hunt
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing book series (PSLW)


Hunt argues that looking at autofiction from the perspective of writers in the process of writing reveals it to be a cognitive–emotional tool that can help them to use their minds more reflexively and potentially to derive therapeutic benefit. It brings together Serge Doubrovsky’s reflections on writing his autofiction Fils, an explicitly therapeutic undertaking, and insights from Hunt’s qualitative research into students’ experience of writing autofiction for personal development in a Master’s programme. Hunt analyses this material using psychoanalytic, psychodynamic and attachment theory, as well as recent work in the cognitive and neurosciences of self and consciousness. Her central focus is on the role of the writing technique Doubrovsky calls ‘surveyed freedom’, which she argues involves the cultivation of a reflexive authorial stance.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celia Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonUK

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