This essay reconsiders the importance of performativity to scholarship on life writing by exploring the potential of Eve Sedgwick's concept of the periper-formative utterance for reading queer life narratives. Taking the documentary Tarnation (2003) as an example, I argue that a range of life narrative practices can be understood as periperformative: texts that both narrate an individual life and critically interrogate the textual conditions under which lives are narrated. I suggest that a key element of periperformative life narrative is a critique of the importance of using a unique voice that speaks from and about the lived experience of the subject. The essay identifies the use of ventriloquism and collage as important characteristics for undertaking this critique.

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