Autobiography and play: A conversation with my 12 year old self

Anna Poletti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article considers how auto/biography scholarship might read and understand the use of the archive of play by contemporary autobiographers. Drawing on the work of the pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Woods Winnicott, I examine how documents generated from play can be read as instances of self-life-writing, and demonstrate the interpretive approaches that we might use to consider texts which incorporate the archive of play in self-representation. Taking an autobiographical video posted to YouTube that went viral in December 2012 as an example, I argue that Winnicott's distinction between the content and the activity of play offers not only a way of understanding the role of playing in developing and understanding a sense of self but also a way of reading autobiographical texts that re-mediate materials produced through childhood play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalProse Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • archive
  • autobiography
  • play
  • Winnicott
  • youth
  • YouTube


Dive into the research topics of 'Autobiography and play: A conversation with my 12 year old self'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this