I use autoethnographic reflection to explore the personal and professional ethical challenges that have emerged over twenty years working with a set of one hundred historic love letters found discarded in an attic. Concerns of representation, narration, and authorship of the Other(s) by historic researchers are explored. Bakhtin’s concept of answerability is then elucidated as a means of reflecting upon choices writers make in researching of the lived experience of everyday people from the past. Issues including authorial responsibility, heteroglossia, polyphony, and the chronotope are explored.
Final Version: Jennifer L. Adams; Writing Others’ Stories: Autoethnographic Reflections on Historical Research, Representation, and Bakhtin. Journal of Autoethnography 1 January 2022; 3 (1): 4–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2022.3.1.4