Literary Precedents for My Secret History

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Theroux has written in the Author's Note to My Secret History the following disclaimer: "Although some of the events and places depicted in this novel bear a similarity to those in my own life, the characters all strolled out of my imagination." Despite this statement, Andre Parent has a surprisingly large number of parallels to Theroux: both were brought up as Catholics in Massachusetts, both went to Nyasland (Malawi) as Peace Corps volunteers, both married British women, became successful writers, and eventually set up dual households in the United States and in Britain.

Like Saul Bellow in Humboldt's Gift (1975), and John Irving in The World According to Garp (1978), Theroux is writing in the semi-autobiographical fictional tradition. Although this method is widely acknowledged, Theroux's disclaimer hints at his discomfort with personal revelations.

Another literary influence on My Secret History is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1902) and his...

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This section contains 486 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the My Secret History Short Guide
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My Secret History from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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