To write about your contemporaries, whose work is enmeshed in the stuff of your life, maybe even in the weave of your self, is risky business. Your interest may be too personal, your involvement too close - but this, as Susan Suleiman demonstrates here, is precisely what makes such a critical encounter worthwhile. Risking Who One Is shows how the process of self-recognition, even self-construction, in the reading of contemporary work can lead to larger considerations about culture and society - to the dimensions of historical awareness and collective action. The book gives us a new way of looking at issues that are as personal as they are prevalent in the writing, the criticism, and the life of our times. Through subtle and incisive readings of Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Gordon, Julia Kristeva, Richard Rorty, Helene Cixous, Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst, Angela Carter, Elie Wiesel, and others, we observe Suleiman in a fascinating dialogue with those who share her place and time and whose interests and preoccupations meet her own. Suleiman confronts with them the conflicts between writing and motherhood. Together, they inquire into "being postmodern" and explore the connections between creativity and love. They consider the place of beauty in contemporary art, examine the relations between aesthetics and politics, and reflect on haunting memories of World War II. Through Suleiman's encounter with them, these writers and artists enter an exchange with each other, and with us as readers, that opens new perspectives on the representation of women's lives, history and memory, autobiography, and the intersection of gender and postmodernism. Itself a form of mediated autobiography, this work takes us through the shaping of a critical approach to some of our closest and deepest concerns in reading, in writing, and in knowing ourselves.