Daniel C. Dennett has argued that the self is a “theorists’ fiction,” a narrative self that is spun from the brain and functions like a center of gravity; an abstraction that is “supremely useful,” even if an ontological fiction. Various theorists, including Priscilla Brandon, Richard Menary, and Lynne Rudder Baker have retorted that embodiment and a first-person ownership—a “mineness” in Brandon's terms—are both necessary for and prior to such a narrative self. The article proposes that the self that is evident in autobiographical art problematizes both of these accounts, illuminating the possibility for self-detachment: the point at which the self loses its center of gravity, its embodiment and its “mineness,” yet remains. Through a consideration of the autobiographical poetry of Charles Bukowski, the article argues that autobiographical art is able not only to construct biography, but to construct identity as well.

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