Derek Jarman: Smiling in Slow Motion

(1432 words)
  • John Mepham (Kingston University)

Derek Jarman wrote a series of autobiographical texts, scripts and journals, in which he again and again revisited his past and continually reinvented the forms of self-writing. The sequence includes Dancing Ledge (1984), The Last of England (1987) (republished as Kicking the Pricks (1996)), Modern Nature (1991), At Your Own Risk (1992), Smiling in Slow Motion (2000), Blue (1993), and Chroma (1994).

“I'm continually reinventing my own past, it is not static,” Jarman writes in these journals. Not only does he reinvent his past he also reinvents himself and the genre of autobiography. The non-chronological “autobiographical collage”, or compilation, that h…

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Mepham, John. "Smiling in Slow Motion". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[, accessed 01 December 2015.]