A Narrated Life. On Dorrit Willumsen’s Biofiction Marie. A Novel About the Life of Madame Tussaud (1986)

Joanna Cymbrykiewicz


The article discusses the issue of narrativization of human existence in biofictions with a Danish novel by Dorrit Willumsen Marie. A Novel About the Life of Madame Tussaud (1986) serving as an example. With reference to narratologists such as Gérard Genette or Hayden White, the author presents the oppressive role of the biographer in the process of narrativizing human life. Nevertheless, the oppression is not perceived pejoratively, but as a chance to bring a historical figure closer to the contemporary reader. Thanks to the biographer’s cultural background, new interpretative potential is liberated in order to make a historical person’s doings more understandable for today’s reader. In the case of Marie, a strategy of an inner portrait has been employed by resorting to various narratorial voices and autodiegetic narration which is untypical of biography.

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