Periperformative life narrative: Queer collages

Anna Poletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This essay reconsiders the importance of performativity to scholarship on life writing by exploring the potential of Eve Sedgwick's concept of the periperformative utterance for reading queer life narratives. Taking the documentary Tarnation (2003) as an example, I argue that a range of life narrative practices can be understood as periperformative: texts that both narrate an individual life and critically interrogate the textual conditions under which lives are narrated. I suggest that a key element of periperformative life narrative is a critique of the importance of using a unique voice that speaks from and about the lived experience of the subject. The essay identifies the use of ventriloquism and collage as important characteristics for undertaking this critique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-379
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Archives
  • Collage
  • Life writing
  • Performativity

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