The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative

Overview

The Memoir and the Memoirist explores the craft and purpose of personal narrative by looking in detail at the work of writers such as Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Dave Eggers, Mark Doty, Rick Bragg, and Joseph Lelyveld to show what they reveal about themselves. Thomas Larson also opens up his own writing and that of his students to demonstrate the hidden mechanics of the writing process.
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Overview

The Memoir and the Memoirist explores the craft and purpose of personal narrative by looking in detail at the work of writers such as Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Dave Eggers, Mark Doty, Rick Bragg, and Joseph Lelyveld to show what they reveal about themselves. Thomas Larson also opens up his own writing and that of his students to demonstrate the hidden mechanics of the writing process.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This thoughtfully reasoned and lucidly written book delves further into the dynamics of the new memoir than anything I know of, and is sure to spark discussion, help guide would-be practitioners, and bring much-needed illumination to a vexed subject.”
— Phillip Lopate, author of The Art of the Personal Essay

“Larson applies his methods to some of the finest examples of the form, with exhilarating analyses of works by writers as diverse as Virginia Woolf, Frank McCourt, Mary Karr, Mark Doty, Dave Eggers, Andrew Hudgins, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Rick Bragg. The result is a book that deserves the attention of literary scholars and anyone attempting to add his or her own contribution to the genre.”
Ploughshares

“Indispensable…arguably one of the two or three best references for those who teach and write nonfiction.”
Brevity

“Larson shines as a reader. His always lucid style, wide-ranging and perceptively analyzed examples, and thorough bibliography of memoirs make the book a valuable reference source as well as a good read.”
Biography

“I’ve never met Thomas Larson, but from reading The Memoir and the Memoirist, I’ve concluded that I’d love to talk to him.... He draws on long experience as a reader, writer, and teacher to describe and embrace the modern memoir before it becomes fussed over and codified by academics.”
Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction

“An invaluable aid for the would-be memoirist, the book is highly recommended.”
The Midwest Book Review

“An established memoirist in his own right, Larson delves into nitty-gritty analyses of memoirs and those who write them.… This is a valuable book for anyone who contemplates writing a memoir, or who simply enjoys reading them.”
American Society of Journalists & Authors

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804011013
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 449,522
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Larson is a contributing writer for the weekly San Diego Reader and facilitator of private memoir-writing groups. His work has appeared in the Anchor Essay Annual: The Best of 1997 as well as the Chicago Reader, Boulevard, Southwest Review, Antioch Review, Gettysburg Review, Free Inquiry, and many other publications. He lives in San Diego.

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Table of Contents


Preface     xi
This Writing Life Now Is What I've Lived For: An Introduction     1
From Autobiography to Memoir     11
Discovering a New Literary Form     21
The Past Is Never Over     33
The Voice of Childhood     45
Myth-Making in Memoir     59
The Writer as Archeologist     67
Sudden Memoir (1)     79
Sudden Memoir (2)     89
What Is Telling the Truth?     100
Which Life Am I Supposed to Live?     113
Memoir and the Inauthentic     126
Two Selves Authenticated     137
The Trouble with Narrative     151
The World the Self Inherits     164
A Memoir Culture     179
Notes     193
Memoirs     199
Works Cited     207
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