Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing a Life

Overview

In this landmark collection, Patricia Hampl and Elaine Tyler May have gathered fourteen original essays from award-winning memoirists and historians. They are all storytellers, wrestling with a fascinating gray area where memory intersects with history and where the necessities of narrative collide with mundane facts. and whether the record emerges from archival sources or from personal memory, these writers show how to make the leap to telling a good story—while also telling us true.

“reading each of these ...

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Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing a Life

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Overview

In this landmark collection, Patricia Hampl and Elaine Tyler May have gathered fourteen original essays from award-winning memoirists and historians. They are all storytellers, wrestling with a fascinating gray area where memory intersects with history and where the necessities of narrative collide with mundane facts. and whether the record emerges from archival sources or from personal memory, these writers show how to make the leap to telling a good story—while also telling us true.

“reading each of these superb and provocative essays, readers understand history in the memoir and memoir in the history. What all the writers recognize is that they and their disciplines all deal with the vagaries of memory and how humans construct meaning in the present through memory, however expressed. a superb book. Highly recommended.”
—Choice

Patricia Hampl is the author of three memoirs, including most recently The Florist’s Daughter, as well as other books of literary nonfiction and poetry. Elaine Tyler May has written several books on twentieth-century American history. Both are regents professors at the University of Minnesota. Contributors: André Aciman, Matt Becker, June Cross, Carlos Eire, Helen Epstein, Samuel G. Freedman, Patricia Hampl, Fenton Johnson, Alice Kaplan, Annette Kobak, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Elaine Tyler May, Cheri Register, D. J. Waldie.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Hampl, author of three memoirs (e.g., The Florist's Daughter), and May (history & American studies, Univ. of Minnesota; Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era) present this collection of essays by 14 talented writers who also happen to be memoirists, from André Aciman to D.J. Waldie. While histories (public narratives of record) are viewed as reliable and trusted sources, memoirs (intimate, personal accounts) are often viewed with some suspicion; yet, as Hampl and May point out, memoirs can be powerful testimonies to larger historical events. They devote each chapter to one author and include an extract from one of his or her memoirs followed by an essay by the author. The essays recount the contributors' experiences formulating and writing a memoir as well as their views on memoirs and how they fit into the world of nonfiction. The extracts and essays are equally fascinating, providing an inward look at the authors in addition to a small sampling of their work. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
—Mark Alan Williams

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873518154
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 937,827
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents


Introduction   Patricia Hampl   Elaine Tyler May     3
The Lion and the Lamb, or the Facts and the Truth: Memoir as Bridge   Fenton Johnson     9
Whose War?   Annette Kobak     25
Coming to Memoir as a Journalist   Helen Epstein     43
All in the Family   June Cross     57
It's All in the Past   Michael Patrick MacDonald     69
Confessions of a Memoir Thief   Elaine Tyler May     83
Lady of the Lake   Alice Kaplan     97
The We in the Me: Memoir as Community   Matt Becker     115
You're History   Patricia Hampl     129
Memoir Matters   Cheri Register     147
Where Falsehoods Dissolve: Memory as History   Carlos Eire     163
Making Memory   Samuel G. Freedman     179
Rue Delta   Andre Aciman     189
Public Policy / Private Lives   D. J. Waldie     203
Acknowledgments     219
Contributors     223
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