Memoir: An Introduction
Each year brings a glut of new memoirs, ranging from works by former teachers and celebrity has-beens to disillusioned soldiers and bestselling novelists. In addition to becoming bestsellers in their own right, memoirs have become a popular object of inquiry in the academy and a mainstay in most MFA workshops. Courses in what is now called life-writing study memoir alongside personal essays, diaries, and autobiographies. Memoir: An Introduction proffers a concise history of the genre (and its many subgenres) while taking readers through the various techniques, themes, and debates that have come to characterize the ubiquitous literary form. Its fictional origins are traced to eighteenth-century British novels like Robinson Crusoe and Tom Jones; its early American roots are examined in Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and eighteenth-century captivity narratives; and its ethical conundrums are considered with analyses of the imbroglios brought on by the questionable claims in Rigoberta Menchú's I, Rigoberta, and more notoriously, James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. Alongside these more traditional literary forms, Couser expands the discussion of memoir to include film with what he calls "documemoir" (exemplified in Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect), and graphic narratives like Art Spiegleman's Maus. In sum, Memoir: An Introduction provides a succinct and comprehensive survey to today's most popular form of life-writing.
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actual Adams Adams’s American literature autism autobiography Ben Yagoda bildungsroman biography biopic Black Elk book’s captivity captivity narrative celebrity century chapter characters childhood collaboration confession contemporary memoir conventions conversion narrative course creative critics culture depict diary disability distinct documentary ethical example experience fact father fiction film first-person first-person narratives Franklin Frey Frey’s Fun Home function graphic memoir hoax Holocaust important individual invented involves kind less life-writing genres liter literary lives Lucy Grealy Mark Twain Mary Karr matter memoir boom memoirists memory Menchú Million Little Pieces narrator nonfiction novel novelist ofthe one’s parents patriography person produced protagonist published rative read memoir readers recounts refer relationship Rigoberta Menchú scene seems self-life writing sense significant slave narrative story subgenre subjects technique tell term testimony thing third-person Thoreau tion tive Toklas truth Twain verisimilitude Walden written