"novel" again

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Sep 7 14:20:28 UTC 2007

At 9/6/2007 08:40 PM, Jon L. wrote:
>How can I resist?
>   2003 Mark Taylor _The Vietnam War in History, Literature and
> Film_ (Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama Press) 140: Ron Kovic's
> autobiographical novel _Born on the Fourth of July_ [was] published in 1976.
>   Kovic's very well-known book is what used to be called a
> "memoir."  Taylor - Lecturer in American Studies at the University
> of Hull - doesn't claim that any of it is invented.

Although I too cringe at calling an autobiography a novel, I take
"autobiographical" as a looser "based on a life".  And the OED has,
at least for "autobiographic", "1. Of the nature of autobiography",
with one quote being:

1870 Lowell Among my Bks. Ser. ii. (1873) 26 The writings of
Dante..are all..autobiographic.

Surely Dante was not Orpheus -- and the OED's second ellipsis omits
an interesting qualification:

"The first remark to be made upon the writings of Dante is that they
are all (with the possible exception of the treatise De Vulgari
Eloquio) autobiographic"

This is from Google Books -- and for something entirely different,
eagerly await a forthcoming publication ...


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