Paul John Eakin

Paul John Eakin

Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus, English


  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1966
  • M.A., Harvard University, 1961
  • A.B., Magna cum laude, History and Literature, Harvard College, 1959


Touching the World: Reference in Autobiography (Princeton University Press, 1992).

Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention (Princeton University Press, 1985).

The New England Girl: Cultural Ideals in Hawthorne, Stowe, Howells, and James(University of Georgia Press, 1977).

View recent books


American Autobiography: Retrospect and Prospect. Ed., with Introduction. University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

On Autobiography, by Philippe Lejeune. Ed., with Foreword. University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Recent and Forthcoming Presentations

Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative. Cornell University Press, 2008. Forthcoming in Chinese translation from the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press in Shanghai.

Writing Life Writing: Narrative, History, Autobiography, with a Foreword by Craig Howes. Routledge, 2020.

Vivendo Autobiograficamente: A Construção de Nossa Identidade Narrativa. Portuguese translation of Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative (2008). Trans. Ricardo Santhiago. São Paulo, Brazil: Letra e Voz, 2019.

“History and Life Writing: The Value of Subjectivity.” Invited paper, symposium on “Life Writing Historicized: The Individual in Social and Cultural Context in Europe from 1300 to 1800,” University of Miami, February 2019.

“Philippe Lejeune Turns Eighty.” European Journal of Life Writing 7 (2018): n. pag. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.

“Does Autobiography Have a Future?” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 32 (Spring 2017): 271-73.

“James Olney and the Study of Autobiography.” Biography 38 (Fall 2015): 465-71.

“David Parker and the Good of Life of Writing.” Biography 38 (Fall 2015): 482-84.

“My Autobiography Study.” Interview with Liang Qingbiao. Journal of Modern Life Writing Studies 5 (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, Autumn 2015).

“Self and Self-Representation Online and Off.” Frame (Utrecht, Netherlands) 28 (May, 2015): 11-29.

“The Referential Aesthetic of Autobiography.” 1992. The Biographer’s Revenge: Essays of Modern Western Research on Life Writing. Ed. and trans. Liang Qingbiao. Guangxi, China: Guangxi Normal University Press, 2015. 158-87.

“What Are We Reading When We Read Autobiography?” 2004. The Routledge Auto/Biography Studies Reader. Ed. Ricia A. Chansky and Emily Hipchen. New York: Routledge, 2015. 214-21.

“Afterword.” Classic American Autobiographies, ed. William L. Andrews. 3rd ed., Signet Classics. New York: Penguin, 2014. 463-70.

Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention. 1985. Reissued in the Princeton Legacy Library. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

“Autobiography as Cosmogram.” Storyworlds 6 (2014): 21-43.

Selected Articles since 2008

“Travelling with Narrative: From Text to Body.” In The Travelling Concepts of Narrative, ed. Mari Hatavara, Lars-Christer Hydén, and Matti Hyvärinen. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2013. 83-92.

“Vivre dans l’histoire: autobiographie, memoir(s), mémoires.” In Le sens du passé: pour une nouvelle approche des Mémoires, ed. Marc Hersant, Jean-Louis Jeannelle, and Damien Zanone. Rennes: Editions de la Licorne, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2013. 351-61.

“Identiteitsuitrustingen: technologie, herinnering, narratief” [“Identity Equipment: Technology, Memory, Narrative”], Tijdschrift voor Biografiem[Utrecht, Netherlands]1 (2012), 7-16. This issue of Biografie includes three responses to my essay, and my reply, “Digitale identiteiten: Een reactie op het commentaar van JaapBos, Tanny Dobbelaar en Rudolph Glitz” [“Digital Identities: A Reply to Jaap Bos, Tanny Dobbelaar, and Rudolph Glitz”] (26-27). There is also an interview: “Interview met John Eakin” [“Interview with John Eakin”] by Monica Soeting (4-6).

“Eye and I: Negotiating Distance in Eyewitness Narrative,” Partial Answers 7 (2009): 201-12.

“Talking about Ourselves: Autobiography, Narrative Identity, and Everyday Life,” The Protean Forms of Life Writing: Auto/Biography in English, 1680-2000. Ed. Angelo Righetti. Naples: Liguori Editore, 2008. 9-26.

“The Economy of Narrative Identity,” (1) Economists’ Lives: Biography and Autobiography in the History of Economics. Supplement to History of Political Economy 39 (2007). Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 117-33. (2) Controlling Time and Shaping the Self: Developments in Autobiographical Writing since the Sixteenth Century, ed. Arianne Baggerman, Rudolf Dekker, and Michael Mascuch. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2011. 231-45.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Fellowships: American Council of Learned Societies, 1987; Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 1990.
  • Special session devoted to my work, “Autobiographical Worlds: In Celebration of Paul John Eakin,” MLA Convention, San Diego, December 2003.
  • Festschrift issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 29 (Summer 2008), dedicated to James Olney and myself.