CONCEIVING AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY marks an era in a writer's life; the decisions involved in writing that autobiography present the author with multiple possibilities. When Harriet Ann Jacobs, the slave narrator of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself, decided to tell her story in f 853, the decision signalled a major change in her life. The process of writing her life presented new challenges—especially concerning the creation of herself as a literary subject, and the negotiation of the private and the political aspects of her experience.