Using autobiographies in business history: a narratological analysis of Jules Joubert's Shavings and Scrapes
Entrepreneur autobiographies provide business historians with the opportunity to connect storytelling and identity, topics that are now prominent in economic debate. Yet lingering concern about the subjectivity of life writing prevents wider use of autobiographies within business history. This article seeks to allay such concern by applying the narratological method to the colonial entrepreneur Jules Joubert's autobiography, Shavings and Scrapes. Joubert's narrative identity is as an ‘adventurer’. This identity shored up his self-image and was used by him to enhance his reputation. Narratology shows that an autobiography can stabilise and publicise the colonial entrepreneur's narrative identity, thereby benefiting their business career.