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“I Had To Make A Hero Of Myself”: Leonard Kriegel’s The Long Walk Home As Autopathographical Quest Narrative

Author(s): Hayley Mitchell Haugen

Journal: The Brock Review
ISSN 1188-9071

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: American Literature | memoir | disability studies | Kriegel

Leonard Kriegel’s autobiographical memoir, The Long Walk Home can be read as an autopathographical quest narrative, or hero’s journey. While the quest-like nature of Kriegel’s memoir grounds his work in the masculine tradition of American literature, and masculine autobiography in particular, Kriegel’s work also performs functions indicative of the historical emergence of the contemporary illness narrative, which Arthur Frank says in The Wounded Storyteller, “reclaims the author’s right to tell what is her own experience, it reclaims a voice over and against the medical voice, and it reclaims a life beyond illness, even if illness is the occasion of writing” (5). As a result of the tensions inherent in “reclaiming” voice, Kriegel’s work functions politically, offering a counter-voice to the dominant discourse of illness and disability in the modern era.
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