Autobiography in the Works of Bret Easton Ellis

Examination Thesis, 2006

77 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Life and Works of Bret Easton Ellis

III. The Autobiography – Overview and Convergence
1. Range and Dimension of Autobiography
1.1. Definition, History, and Development of Autobiography
1.2. Between Fact and Fiction: Solving the Problem of ‘Truth’ in Autobiographies
1.3. Autobiography and the Question of Genre
1.4. Distinction of Different (Auto)biographical
Styles of Narration
a) Memoirs
b) Diary
c) Autofiction
d) Semi-Autobiography /
e) Autobiographical Novel
f) Biography
1.5. Intermediate Result: The Essence of Autobiography
2. The Form of Autobiography and How It Is Reflected in the Works of Bret Easton Ellis
2.1. About the (Auto)biographical Influence on Ellis’s Works between 1985 and 2000
2.2. The Aspect of Authenticity and Verifiability
2.3. The Selection of Facts and the Form of Depiction
2.4. Orientation towards the Reader and the Reader’s Expectation
2.5. The Aspect of Autobiographical Intention and Authorship
a) Narrative Situation
b) Intention of the Author
2.6. Metanarrative Aspects
2.7. Attempting a Categorization of Bret Easton Ellis’s Works

IV. Conclusion

Works Cited

I. Introduction

Autobiographies are able to record growing popularity; their dominating position on the book market cannot only be concluded from growing sales figures, but it is also the scope of scientific occupation with the subject and a continuously expanding dimension of theoretical approaches, which prove the well-established position of the phenomenon of autobiography within the field of literature.

What are the reasons for the outstanding position of autobiography? What is the appeal of reading such a sort of text for the reader and which aspects demarcate autobiographies from other sorts of texts? Are autobiographies especially read for the reason that they satisfy human curiosity about the lives of famous personalities? Is it the ostensible citation virtually 'from the mouth' of the author him/herself, which pretend an insight into the author's personality – a revelation only he/she is able to make? Or does the reading motivation result from an expected insight into a person, which enables orientation for the reader's own life and resulting problems and crises?

Christian Klein's opinion[1] might be appropriate. He regards biographical writing as a “Krisenphänomen”[2] and supports the view that autobiographies enable to cope with someone's psychological conflicts and satisfying more or less conscious wishes. Furthermore, it seems intelligibly that autobiographical texts suggest a greater amount of 'truth', authentically pretending to disclose life as it has been lived.

A fundamental problem of autobiographical texts arises from the inherent dichotomy of fact and fiction, which complicates – unless it does not even render out – an explicit demarcation from neighbouring genres[3]. Thus, autobiography is on the interface of historiography, the study of literature, and literature itself[4].

Respective scientific theories have extensively attempted to isolate and define the field of autobiographical texts. Yet, a consistent opinion does not exist[5]. Thus, solely the sum of manifold aspects based on the multitude of theories, can reasonably determine the autobiographical character of a work. Especially, postmodern writers have recently enforced advancements of existing theoretical models by trifling with the traditional understanding of different genres and their constitutive conditions. Thereby, these authors actively include their readers into the process of reading and force them not only to reflect on the narrated content, but also on their own reading and reception behaviour.

In this respect, it is the US-American author Bret Easton Ellis who is to set apart, since in his latest work Lunar Park, he carries the aforementioned dichotomy of fact and fiction, as well as the questioning of constitutive conditions of autobiography, to the extreme. According to the publishing house[6], the text has to be read as novel, not as autobiography. Still, it imposes itself to take the possibility of reading the text as an autobiography into account, since several essential characteristics of the protagonist correspond to those of the author: especially lucid is the identity of the names and a metatextual consideration of word-by-word citations from earlier works by the author.

Lunar Park opens with a statement on public reactions as uttered in the context of earlier – real-existing – works. Hereby, the narrator's claim, that Less Than Zero had been mistaken for autobiography[7], has to be accentuated.

Thus, an analysis of Lunar Park demands likewise a consideration of earlier works by Bret Easton Ellis, the more so as Ellis's latest work metatextually refers back to these. This paper aims at such an analysis, solidifying respective characteristics and collecting them in the form of a catalogue of traditional autobiographical criteria. Furthermore, this work tries to present a distinct overview of autobiography as a genre. This requires a disassociation from neighbouring genres or (auto)biographical forms of narration, such as memoirs, diaries, autofiction, semi-autobiographies, autobiographical novels, and biographies. Along with an overview of the life and works of the author Bret Easton Ellis, this first theoretical part forms the basis of the literary analysis.

This will be used within the subsequent part for a critical examination of Lunar Park – including aspects from Ellis's earlier works – under autobiographical viewpoints. It will be argued that Lunar Park represents Ellis's attempt to reconsider and revise his reputation and his picture in public, which is done by seizing the public opinion and exaggerating referring events. Furthermore, it will be claimed that Ellis criticizes the audience's reading behaviour by holding up a mirror to the reader and illustrating the reader's misbehaviour by means of practical reading experience, rather than by an explicit justification.

Actual and extratextual sources, as well as interviews with the author, will be included in the analysis. The attempt of a categorization of Lunar Park and earlier of Bret Easton Ellis's works, will round off the analysis.

II. Life and Works of Bret Easton Ellis

In so far as a written text is the creative product of an author, it is not only the content of a text which plays a role in the reading, reception and understanding of this text, but also the author him/herself. For that reason, I shall begin with an introduction of the author whose works are at the center of this paper.

The American author Bret Easton Ellis was born on March 7, 1964 in Sherman Oaks, California as the oldest child of his father, Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and his mother Dale Ellis, who divorced in 1982[8]. Rejecting his father's wish to study business management at the University of Southern California, Bret Easton Ellis enrolled at Bennington College in Vermont, where he focused on literature and graduated in 1986. Ellis's first novel Less Than Zero was published in 1985, followed by The Rules of Attraction in 1987.

Less Than Zero tells the story of a rich college student named Clay who spends his winter break from college in his hometown. The novel describes a mixture of parties, drug consumption with friends, and – often violent – sex. The protagonist is uncertain of his feelings towards Blair and whether or not he should restart his relationship with her. Despite his relationship with Blair, he has several one-night stands with several guys, when it turns out that his friend Julian has become a prostitute and is addicted to drugs. The novel ends with Clay leaving Los Angeles. In the way of their presentation, the protagonists and their relation among each other represent listlessness, emotional coolness and the disability to develop profound feelings for others. The protagonists are representative of an excessive way of life, which gives the impression of presenting the disorientation exemplary of the modern young generation.

Ellis's debut novel was written during his studies at Bennington College. Remarkably enough, Less Than Zero turned into a bestseller, despite all criticism and despite the relatively young age of the author.

His second novel The Rules of Attraction uses multiple first-person narrators, whereby Paul Denton, Sean Bateman, and Lauren Hynde are being introduced as main narrators who give their personal accounts of their experiences at Camden College, a fictional liberal arts college in New Hampshire. Similar to the subjects featured in Less Than Zero, parties, drugs and sex also form the main ingredients of The Rules of Attraction. The interwoven relation between the three main characters of the novel is particularly noteworthy: they know each other, they are – at least – sexually attracted to each other, and they end up in a love triangle. Their conversation frequently appears to be sober, unloving, even rude and indifferent to the reader. Sean has a vast number of sexual experiences with many girls as well as a few boys on campus and he is in love with Lauren, at the same time having a relationship with Paul. Denton is a bisexual who used to date Lauren. At the beginning of the novel, it is Lauren who to her own disgust loses her virginity to somebody she does not even really know. Throughout the narration, an unnamed female student has several appearances, when she drops secret notes into Sean's mailbox. Whenever she appears, these passages are printed in italics. When she realizes that Sean – who believes that the secret notes come from Lauren – will not fall in love with her, she commits suicide.

Similar to Ellis's debut novel, the protagonists in The Rules of Attraction represent the disability to develop profound interpersonal feelings and long-term relationships, whereby subjects underlined in Less Than Zero are further accentuated and driven further. The multiperspectival presentation of oftentimes the same situations portrays a comparison of the inner life of the different protagonists. This way of presentation underlines the indifferent lifestyle of the young generation, which has already been expressed by Less Than Zero.

From a stylistic point of view, The Rules of Attraction begins and ends right in the middle of a sentence. This narrative peculiarity carries the atmosphere presented in the text forward to the reader as it suggests that the narration starts immediately in medias res. This conveys that also the narrator shows that particular indifference towards the reader as he is unconcerned whether or not the reader is able to follow.

The publication of Ellis's third novel American Psycho followed in 1991 and it has caused a lot of controversy ever since. The novel gives an account of roughly two years in the life of Patrick Bateman, a New York investment broker at the age of 26, who is introduced as a serial killer. On the one hand, the protagonist – and at the same time the narrator – is a successful, rich, and good-looking young man, who on the surface appears to be “the boy next door”, as one character in the novel refers to him[9]. On the other hand, Bateman's outrageous murders are so brutal that some of them do not even occur in the American Psycho movie. The way in which Bateman kills his victims is remarkable: he often appears to be unemotional, sometimes even indifferent, no matter how brutal his murders are. Even though he gives his blood-covered bedlinen to the laundry service and even calls himself “a fucking evil psychopath”[10] in the presence of others, nobody gets suspicious. The protagonist even fools a detective, as well as the police when he is wanted after another murder. In the end, Patrick Bateman gets away scot-free.

The extraordinary brutality and audacity of the protagonist carries the indifference towards others as introduced in Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction to the extremes.

American Psycho has caught overwhelming attention even before its publication: 'Simon & Schuster' refused to publish the novel, forfeiting a $300,000 advance[11]. So did 'Rowohlt' with the German translation of the novel. Finally, 'Vintage Books' decided on favour of publication. In Germany, the publishing house 'Kiepenheuer & Witsch' published the translated version of American Psycho which was put on the index right afterwards. Although today, the novel is not on the index in Germany anymore, it is still banned in a few countries, one of which is Australia. Reviews and appraisals as regards the novel, have been diverse and contradictory: according to Munzinger, the tenor of the criticism was that the novel was no literary answer to the problem of human deformation, but rather itself an example of senseless, perverted prose. On the other hand, the newspaper Die Zeit[12] declared American Psycho to represent one of the most important works of the nineties. The novel has sold about 600,000 copies until 2005 and continues selling about 22,000 copies a year[13].

After his next novels The Informers in 1994 and Glamorama in 1998, Ellis's latest work Lunar Park was published in 2005. Lunar Park introduces a protagonist named Bret Easton Ellis who in the beginning recaps earlier stages of his successful life as a prominent author of several works, all of which are named and cited in excerpts: Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, Glamorama, and The Informers. The titles of these works match with the titles of the 'real' author Bret Easton Ellis. Lunar Park continues with a description of horror events which happen to the protagonist, who together with his wife and famous actress Jayne Dennis, his stepdaughter Sarah Dennis and his son Robby Dennis resides in a villa in an unnamed suburbia. The events described by the protagonist mainly revolve around partying, family life, marital problems, drugs, success, as well as supernatural events, such as attacks by Sarah's bird doll named Terby. Lunar Park is the first book written by Bret Easton Ellis to use past tense narrative.

With respect to all of Ellis's books, Steur characterizes all of them as “repräsentativ für eine bestimmte Richtung der gegenwärtigen amerikanischen Literatur, in der sich der fortschreitende Prozess der kulturellen Enthierarchisierung und Demokratisierung widerspiegelt”[14].

The relationship between Ellis and his father had been unfortunate ever since, since in an interview, Ellis described him as “an abusive alcoholic, an angry 'control freak' who, after separating from Mr. Ellis's mother, bought a Ferrari […] and wore 'ageinappropriate clothing'”[15]. In the same interview, the successful author furthermore reveals that “when he [father Ellis] died, suddenly, he left behind an estate tangled with debts and other problems. Father and son had not spoken for several months. But since his father's death, Mr. Ellis said he has found himself longing for reconciliation”. In a different interview in Los Angeles, Ellis said furthermore: “I would have fuck you money if my Dad had managed his assets a little better and was not five million dollars in debt when he died. He left us with nothing and my Mom was almost penniless”[16].

Ellis himself fought drug problems, is not married, has no children and today resides in Los Angeles and New York. When it comes to his sexual orientation, he kept his silence for a long time. It was as late as August 2005 when he revealed to Edward Wyatt of The New York Times about his friend and lover Michael Wade Kaplan, with whom he shared six years and who died in January 2004 at the age of only thirty. Kaplan's unexpected death caused Ellis to suffer “a midlife crisis” with the effect that “his death was a big catalyst to finish the novel [Lunar Park]” and that it probably added “a new layer of wistfulness and melancholy to the writing”6.

Bret Easton Ellis is one of the authors who are part of the media-created 'brat pack', a literary term which refers to a group of young authors aged about 15 to 25 in the 1980s[17], such as Tama Janowitz, Mark Lindquist, and Jay McInerney (referred to by Ellis as “Jayster”) with whom Ellis cultivates a long-standing friendship[18]. Regarding business contacts, Ellis's editor can be identified as Gary Fiskjeton, followed by his publicist Paul Bogaards, his agent Amanda Urban, and Morgan Entrekin who bought the manuscript of Less Than Zero working as a young publicist at 'Simon & Schuster' at that time[19].Several of Ellis's works were made into films. American Psycho (2000) has even got a follow-up titled American Psycho II (2002) which only superficially takes up the plot of its predecessor. Ellis even claims that “in the end, it had nothing to do with Patrick Bateman or with American Psycho or with Bret Easton Ellis. It was just a title being used to sell a kind of dumb campus slasher movie”[20].

III. The Autobiography – Overview and Convergence

To review the works of Bret Easton Ellis in the light of autobiographical aspects, a clarification of the term 'autobiography' and its implications is necessary. As a first step, a general overview of the history and development of autobiography will be outlined to filter out a selection of constitutive conditions of autobiography. These will then in the following passage be taken up and applied to the respective works of Bret Easton Ellis.

1. Range and Dimension of Autobiography

1.1. Definition, History, and Development of Autobiography

The New Oxford Dictionary of English describes autobiography simply as “an account of a person's life written by that person”, thus choosing a word-for-word translation of the Greek elements meaning “self-life-writing”[21] as a basis of the definition. In contrast to autobiography, the same dictionary describes biography as “an account of someone's life written by someone else”.

Even if such definitions seem to pick up the basic elements of (auto)biography, Klein warns about such simplified definitions, stating – implicitly also relating to autobiography: “Eine tragbare Definition der Biographie zu erarbeiten ist aufgrund der vielen Charakteristika, die sie sich mit verschiedenen anderen Genres teilt, komplizierter, als es auf den ersten Blick scheint”[22]. Olney even goes as far as claiming that a “definition of autobiography as a literary genre seems to [him] virtually impossible“[23].

The difficulty with defining autobiography is reflected in the multitude of theories and opinions expressed and developed since the subject of autobiography became relevant to scientific research: As will be shown, the determining of autobiography as a genre in its own right, its separation from other neighbouring genres, and the question of formal constitutive conditions of an autobiography have been discussed with changing accentuation over the decades.

For Wagner-Egelhaaf[24], the fundamental problem of autobiography stems from the fact that the author is simultaneously subject and object of the depictions at the same time, which enables the reader to choose between two possible modes of reading: either he/she can interpret the book as a historical account or as a literary work of art. Autobiographies proclaim to be referential texts in so far as they claim to portray historical reality, although in fact the subjective position of the author excludes the possibility of an objective account. Instead of reality, the term truth has been used[25] to account for the fact that objectivity is not measurable[26]. Thus, it becomes clear that within the genre of autobiography there is a general tension between what is fact and what is fiction. Fiction appears in that respect as an intended means of depiction, as Wagner-Egelhaaf points out[27]. She explains: “Wenig früher […] fällt das Stichwort der 'Fiktion', der Dichtung also, als eines bewusst eingesetzten Mittels, um 'das eigentliche Grundwahre' seines Lebens darstellen zu können. Der zum Wahrheitsanspruch gewandelte Wirklichkeitsanspruch der Autobiographie befindet sich also auf direktem Weg zur Dichtung […]“[28]. Wagner-Egelhaaf furthermore concludes that the reader's expectation of authenticity in autobiographies is closely related to the aspect of truth:

Auch werden autobiographische Zeugnisse von vielen Interpreten und Interpretinnen explizit oder implizit am Kriterium der Wahrhaftigkeit gemessen. Mit ihm verbindet sich die bereits erwähnte Authentizitätserwartung: Gegenüber mittelbarem, aus den Archiven der Gelehrsamkeit bzw. der literarischen Tradition geschöpften Wissen verspricht die Autobiographie als individuelle Lebensäußerung eines konkreten Menschen authentisch gelebte und darum ‚wahre’ Erfahrung.[29]

As can be concluded from this statement, it is the authenticity of events recounted within a text, which underlines the extraordinary character of autobiography, in so far as the events told can be either verified or proved wrong by the reader. As Sill points out[30], such verification requires extratextual material.

The phenomenon of autobiographical writing caught scientific attention as late as in the beginning of the 20th century[31]. Although there had already been scientific considerations at the end of the 19th century, it was the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey who added important value to the discussion of autobiography, considering the genre to be even the basis for all historical recordings[32]. In the following, philosopher Georg Misch tried to give a complete overview of the history of autobiography in his work Geschichte der Autobiographie in 1907. Misch underlined that autobiographies, which he termed "Selbstbiographien”[33], are based on the self-knowledge of the writer and he emphasized that they are depictions of the self, showing an "objectified mind"[34] as the most true and real element of such a text. He also claims that truth in autobiographies shows itself within the text as a whole, and not only in parts[35]. For Misch, self-knowledge, consideration of factual reality, and the relation between the writer, his work, and his audience are constitutive of autobiographies[36].

Theoretical discussions in Anglo-Saxonian countries did not appear before the 1930's, and they were clearly inspired by ideas discussed in Germany at that time[37]. According to Niggl, a new step in the scientific research of autobiography was reached in the 1950's, then under the leadership of France and Anglo-Saxonian countries[38]. First and foremost[39], it was Wayne Shumaker[40] who distinguished between autobiography, diary, and letter, as well as between res gestae, memoirs, and subjective autobiography based on formal aspects. He regarded autobiographies to be summaries or retrospective views on a whole life[41], wherein the author has to show up using his/her 'real' name and focuses on his/her own character and actions[42].

In the following years, Georges Gusdorf characterized autobiography as an attempt to restore the entity of life and to belatedly allocate a different sense to the choice of depictions:

So nimmt sich denn auch die Autobiographie im eigentlichen Sinn vor, die Einheit des Lebens durch die Zeitläufe hindurch wiederherzustellen. Diese Einheit, die sich in erlebten Verhaltensweisen und Haltungen ausdrückt, bekommt man nicht von außen her: natürlich üben die Ereignisse ihren Einfluss auf uns aus, sie bestimmen bisweilen unsere Richtung und setzen uns stets Grenzen.[43]

Gusdorf underlines that an autobiography furthermore is not a repetition of the past, in so far as the past itself represents a world forever gone which can only reappear in the imagination of the writer: “Die Autobiographie ist nicht einfach die Wiederholung der Vergangenheit, so wie sie war, denn das Heraufbeschwören der Vergangenheit erlaubt ja nur in der geistigen Vorstellung das Auftauchen einer für immer entschwundenen Welt”[44].

In 1960 it was Roy Pascal who discussed the aspect of 'truth' in his work Design and Truth in Autobiography. According to him, an autobiography has to be regarded as a work of art[45] and it depends “on the seriousness of the author, the seriousness of his personality and his intention in writing”[46]. This intention can be defined as a particular kind of 'honest' intention which then guarantees the 'truth' of the writing”[47]. In other words, autobiographical intention – a term coined by A. R. Burr denoting an assurance of sincerity[48] – on the part of the author constitutes another condition of autobiography.

With the so-called linguistic turn which followed in the course of the 1960s, the priority of content over form was put into question, at the same time emphasizing the conviction that language constitutes reality[49]. In the light of the linguistic turn, the concept of life began to change:

Zunehmend geht man davon aus, dass Leben nicht einfach nur gelebt wird, sondern etwas Gestaltetes ist. Begriffe wie ‚unmittelbar’ oder ‚authentisch’ müssen ergänzt werden durch ‚konstruiert’ und ‚inszeniert’ […].[50]

This period of a general renaissance of autobiographical research[51], which reaches its peak especially in Germany, France, and the United States, had an effect on predominant theories: attempts by Shumaker, Gusdorf, and Pascal were further developed and put questions of design and change in form, in the center of their examinations[52]. Within their framework, a stricter dissociation between autobiography, its forms, and neighbouring genres became prominent, which underlined the non-fictional character of autobiography[53].

In a view postulated by Ingrid Aichinger in 1970, she emphasizes the non-fictional character of autobiography with respect to its close relation to the 'real' world outside of the text, and points out that in its punctual, fragmented depictions, an autobiographical text could never comprise the whole range of life[54]. In her view, the integration of experiences (“Erlebnis”) –

which have to be distinguished from life[55] (“Leben”) – events, and encounters in retrospective is an important feature of autobiography[56], in addition to the fact that autobiographies place the personality of the writer and his personal development in the foreground[57].

Almost at the same time as Aichinger, Wulf Segebrecht took the reader's expectations into account, underlining the reader's critical view as regards the non-fictional narrator of an autobiography. Segebrecht especially focused on the necessity of a pronounced amount of communication between the autobiographical narrator and the reader to indicate the non-fictional arrangement[58].

It is Philippe Lejeune who reached a further step in autobiographical research when in 1971 his work L'Autobiographie en France and in 1975 Le Pacte Autobiographique was published. His definition of autobiography reads: “[Autobiographie ist ein] rückblickender Bericht in Prosa, den eine wirkliche Person über ihr eigenes Dasein erstellt, wenn sie das Hauptgewicht auf ihr individuelles Leben, besonders auf die Geschichte ihrer Persönlichkeit legt”[59]. Furthermore, Lejeune introduced what he called a “pacte autobiographique”[60], i.e. an autobiographical contract between the author and the reader. According to this contract, which both parties necessarily sign at the beginning of the text, the 'I' of the narration continuously refers to the author. This is the case, because Lejeune assumes an identity of the author, the narrator, and the protagonist of the text as essentially constitutive for an autobiographical text. However, he claims this reference to be subject to an essential repetition of the author's name (given in the title or at the end of the preface and thereby 'signing' the contract right at the beginning) within the narration that follows. As regards the term identity, Lejeune contrasts identity (denoting author, narrator, and character) with similarity, which portrays a reflection of reality, not the effects of reality itself[61]. In so far as autobiographies pretend to recount extratextual 'reality', they offer the possibility of verification, not to depict probability but similarity[62]. As regards aspects such as form of speech, subject, and the position of the narrator, Lejeune mentions that an overlapping with neighbouring genres is possible[63].


[1] Cf. Klein, Christian, ed. Grundlagen der Biographik – Theorie und Praxis des biografischen Schreibens. Stuttgart: Verlag J. B. Metzler, 2002: 92–93.

[2] See ibid.: 3

[3] Cf. Finck, Almut . Autobiographisches Schreiben nach dem Ende der Autobiographie. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1999: 12, Koopmann, Helmut. "Die Biographie". In: Weissenberger, Klaus, ed. Prosakunst ohne Erzählen: Die Gattungen der nicht-fiktionalen Kunstprosa. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1985: 45–66: 47/55, and Heusden, Barend van. "Alberts autobiografisch: identiteit en overeenkomst". In: Jongeneel, Els. Over de Autobiografie. Utrecht: HES Uitgevers B.V.,1989: 82–96: 82.

[4] Cf. Klein 2002: 12

[5] Cf. Koopmann 1985: 47

[6] Cf. Ellis, Bret Easton. Lunar Park. 1. Auflage. Cologne: Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2006: front cover.

[7] Cf. Ellis, Bret Easton. Lunar Park. London: Picador, 2005: 7.

[8] Unless otherwise noted, all biographical facts are taken from Munzinger Online (2006), Randomhouse Inc. (2006), and – to include latest updates and developments – Wikipedia (2006).

[9] See Ellis, Bret Easton. American Psycho. New York: Picador, 1991: 11.

[10] See ibid.: 20

[11] Cf. Abbott, Charlotte and Karen Holt. "Lunar Park: The Novel". Publishers Weekly. July 11, 2005.

[12] Cf. Worthmann, Merten. "Auf der Klinge". Die Zeit. Sept. 7, 2000.

[13] Cf. Abbott/Holt 2005

[14] See Steur, Horst. Der Schein und das Nichts – Bret Easton Ellis' Roman Less Than Zero. Essen: Verlag Die Blaue Eule, 1995: 8.

[15] See Wyatt, Edward. "The Man in the Mirror". The New York Times. Aug. 7, 2005.

[16] See Interview with Bret Easton Ellis. Los Angeles. April 18, 2006.

6 See Wyatt 2005

[17] See Steur 1995: 8

[18] Cf. Wyatt 2005

[19] Cf. Randomhouse Inc. Bret Easton Ellis: Official Website. New York. March 19, 2006; Wyatt 2005

[20] See SuicideGirls 2006

[21] See Olney, James Leslie. "Autobiography and the Cultural Moment: A Thematic, Historical, and Bibliographical Introduction". In: Olney, James Leslie, ed . Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980: 6.

[22] See Klein 2002: 20

[23] See Olney in Anderson, Linda. Autobiography. Oxon: Routledge, 2001: 5.

[24] Wagner-Egelhaaf, Martina. Autobiographie. 2. aktualisierte und erweiterte Ausgabe. Stuttgart: Verlag J. B. Metzler, 2005: 1–2.

[25] As is the case in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s work Dichtung und Wahrheit: Aus meinem Leben quoted in Wagner-Egelhaaf 2005: 2–3.

[26] Cf. Wagner-Egelhaaf 2005: 2–3

[27] Cf. ibid.

[28] See ibid.

[29] See ibid.: 4

[30] Cf. Sill, Oliver. Zerbrochene Spiegel: Studien zur Theorie und Praxis modernen autobiographischen Erzählens. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1991: 37.

[31] Cf. Jongeneel, Els. Over de Autobiografie. Utrecht: HES Uitgevers B.V., 1989: 7.

[32] Cf. Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 2.

[33] See Misch, Georg. "Begriff und Ursprung der Autobiographie". 1907. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 33–54: 36.

[34] See ibid.: 43

[35] Cf. ibid.: 45

[36] Cf. ibid.: 49

[37] Cf. Niggl 1989: 3

[38] Cf. ibid.: 4

[39] Cf. ibid.: 4–5

[40] Shumaker, Wayne. "Die englische Autobiographie: Gestalt und Aufbau". 1954. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 75–120.

[41] Cf. ibid.: 78

[42] Cf. ibid.: 120

[43] See Gusdorf, Georges. "Voraussetzungen und Grenzen der

Autobiographie". 1956. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 121–147: 133.

[44] See ibid.: 134

[45] See Pascal, Roy. "Die Autobiographie als Kunstform". 1959. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 148–157: 156.

[46] See Pascal in Anderson 2001: 3

[47] See Anderson 2001: 2–3

[48] See Burr in Aichinger, Ingrid. "Probleme der Autobiographie als Sprachkunstwerk". 1970. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 170–199: 190.

[49] Cf. Wagner-Egelhaaf 2005: 11

[50] See Klein 2002: 14

[51] Cf. Niggl 1989: 7

[52] Cf. ibid.: 10

[53] Cf. ibid.: 10

[54] Cf. Aichinger 1989: 199

[55] Cf. ibid.: 175

[56] Cf. ibid.: 17

[57] Cf. ibid.: 175

[58] Cf. Segebrecht, Wulf. "Über die Anfänge von Autobiographien und ihre Leser". 1969. In: Niggl, Günther, ed . Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 158, 169.

[59] See Lejeune, Philippe. Der autobiographische Pakt. 1975. Transl. Wolfram Bayer and Dieter Hornig. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1994: 14.

[60] Cf. Lejeune, Philippe. L'Autobiographie en France. Paris: Colin, 1971: 24.

[61] Cf. Lejeune, Philippe. "Der autobiographische Pakt". 1973/1975. In: Niggl, Günter, ed. Die Autobiographie – Zu Form und Geschichte einer literarischen Gattung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989: 214–257: 243–244.

[62] Cf. ibid. 244

[63] Cf. Niggl 1989: 11

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Autobiography in the Works of Bret Easton Ellis
University of Cologne
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Autobiography, Works, Bret, Easton, Ellis
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Christian Hensgens (Author), 2006, Autobiography in the Works of Bret Easton Ellis, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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