Home, about, shop, contact: constructing an authorial persona via the author website

Maguire, Emma (2014) Home, about, shop, contact: constructing an authorial persona via the author website. M/C Journal, 17 (3).

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Abstract

The same integration of digital spaces and platforms into daily life that is prompting the development of new tools in autobiography studies—which P. David Marshall has described as "the proliferation of the public self"—has also given rise to the field of persona studies, which addresses the ways in which individuals engage in practices of self-presentation in order to form commoditised identities that circulate in affective communities (Marshall 163). To the field of persona studies, this essay contributes an approach to the author website as a site of self-presentation that works to "package" an authorial persona for circulation within contemporary literary marketplaces. Significantly, I address these websites not as direct representations of a pre-existing self, but as automedial texts that need to be read and interpreted, and which work to construct the authorial self or persona.

I draw on theories of authorship to propose the "author website" as a genre of automedial representation that creates authorial personas for public consumption. Specifically, I consider the website of Erika Moen—a young, female author working in the medium of autobiographical comics—as a case study in order to explore the tensions between Moen's authorial self (as produced in the digital elements of erikamoen.com) and the other, more deliberately autobiographical, renderings of her self that appear in her comics. Although young cartoonists tend to position themselves as artists rather than authors, the recent academic and critical interest in the "graphic novel" form has resulted in a growing sense of these works as literary and their makers as authors. In thinking through this distinction, Andrew Bennett's suggestion that "asking 'what is an author?' is intimately related to the question 'what is literature?'" (118) points to why cartoonists, whose texts are part image and part text and only sometimes bound up as books, have not always been contextualised as authors.

Item ID: 57259
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1441-2616
Keywords: girlhood, authorship, persona, autobiography, life narrative, digital media
Copyright Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Date Deposited: 14 May 2019 01:51
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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