1 / 1990
Jerneja Petrič

Emigrant Autobiography in the United States - A Case of Slovene Americans

The intention of this article is not a theoretical discourse on the autobiographic literary style, but an outline of autobiographies written by Slovene emigrants to the USA, their earliest literary efforts. The author establishes that emigrant autobiographies cannot be evaluated from a strictly literary-artistic point of view. Other factors, such as their role in maintaining the Slovene identity, their importance for history, their popularity among the emigrants, as well as other similar matters, must be taken into account; Autobiographies are divided into two groups: older autobiographies of missionaries and younger lay autobiographies.  Characteristics of common traits and differences between the two groups are listed, and emphasis is given to the fact that as a rule, the authors regularly focus on some basic problem witch they then elaborate. The author argues that, with their autobiographies, Slovene emigrants have fit well into USA ethnic literature, a literature witch has gained acceptance in the last two decades.