Stephen Spender's "The Temple" as an Autobiographical Novel

Stephen Spender's

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🗸 Title: Stephen Spender's "The Temple" as an Autobiographical Novel
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Essay from the year 2011 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Trier, language: English, abstract: In 1988 the author John Fuller had discovered a manuscript of Stephen Spender ́s novel which was called The Temple and was dated 1929. Spender originally wrote this novel in the late 1920s in order to tell his life during his student days. "He sent several copies to friends, among them Auden and Isherwood to get their views about it, and a copy to Geoffrey Faber, his publisher, who pointed out that there could be no question of publishing a novel, which, besides being libelous, was pornographic according to the law at that time." (Spender 1988 x) Hence, Spender's work was not published and fell into oblivion. Over all those years Spender forgot that in the financial crisis he had sold his manuscripts to Texas in 1962 However, in 1988 John Fuller discovered the original manuscript and encouraged Spender to revise his work and to publish it. As he did so, in the introduction of The Temple he wrote the following: "This is an autobiographical novel in which the author tries to report truthfully on his experiences in the summer of 1929." (Spender 1988 xi) In the following I will try to analyze whether The Temple really could be classified as an autobiographical novel or whether we are dealing with any other type of text. The main question that we have to ask then is, what is autobiography or rather what is an autobiographical novel and what is the difference between those two types of texts? Is it even possible to define autobiography or the term autobiographical novel? When we look those terms up in various dictionaries, for autobiography they mostly all have in common one rather short definition that on the first view explains the term very well: "Autobiography is the history of a person's life as written by himself." (Porter Abbot 1988 598) The term autobiographical novel in most dictionaries is not even listed, th