But Enough About Me: Why We Read Other People's Lives

Overview

In her latest work of "personal criticism," Nancy Miller tells the story of how a girl who grew up in the 1950s and got lost in the 1960s became a feminist critic in the 1970s. This evolution was shared by a generation of literary girls who, buoyed by second-wave feminism after the social movements of the 1960s, became writers, academics, and activists. As in previous books, Miller interweaves personal memory with a meditation about what the events of those decades meant for the women who constitute a critical ...
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But Enough About Me: Why We Read Other People's Lives

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Overview

In her latest work of "personal criticism," Nancy Miller tells the story of how a girl who grew up in the 1950s and got lost in the 1960s became a feminist critic in the 1970s. This evolution was shared by a generation of literary girls who, buoyed by second-wave feminism after the social movements of the 1960s, became writers, academics, and activists. As in previous books, Miller interweaves personal memory with a meditation about what the events of those decades meant for the women who constitute a critical generation in postwar American history as female counterparts to the Beats. Through the memoirs of contemporaries and pieces of her autobiography, Miller explores the unexpected ways that the stories of other people´s lives give meaning to our own.

But Enough About Me is a group biography, or even an ethnography, of women, primarily middle-class and urban, now in their fifties and sixties. The book also mounts a defense of the memoir against accusations of terminal narcissism by showing how the forms of life writing -memoirs, diaries, essays -are as much about others as they are about their authors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One of the founders of the "personal criticism" movement whereby a critic finds, Montaigne-style, larger truths in meditating on one's experiences, Miller here offers a witty defense of the genre. Lingering over her development as WWII-era New York child, early '60s grad student in a largely male academy, '70s and '80s feminist-critic-in-the-trenches, and '90s author of such books as Getting Personal and Subject to Change, Miller offers reflections on aging (in and out of the academy), friendship and familyDand how reading about them allows us to better construct our own life stories. (Sept.)
Women's Review of Books - Cora Kaplan

Miller's book seems more than its sum, larger than its slim weight in the hand... fascinating... poignant... looms large.

Women's Review of Books
Miller's book seems more than its sum, larger than its slim weight in the hand... fascinating... poignant... looms large.

— Cora Kaplan

Radcliffe Quarterly

Nancy K. Miller's new book is an elegant and witty meditation of self-knowledge, particularly for women. It should be read by all of us who are struggling, in these strange, loudly postfeminist times, to make sense of our stories as they have been interpolated by post-World War II America.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231125222
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2002
  • Series: Gender and Culture Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Lexile: 1250L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy K. Miller is distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Bequest and Betrayal, Getting Personal, and other books.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 But Enough About Me, What Do You Think Of My Memoir? 1
2 Decades 27
3 Circa 1959 47
4 The Marks of Time 73
5 "Why Am I Not That Woman?" 111
Epilogue: My Grandfather's Cigarette Case, or What I Learned in Memphis 127
Notes 139
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