Bureau of Missing Persons: Writing the Secret Lives of Fathers

Bureau of Missing Persons: Writing the Secret Lives of Fathers

by Roger J. Porter


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801449871
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 05/05/2011
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Roger J. Porter is Professor of English at Reed College. He is the author most recently of Self-Same Songs: Autobiographical Performances and Reflections.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Child's Book of Parental Deception 1

1 Faith-Changing for Life 17

The Wounds of Memory: Shame and Discovery in the Kurzem Family 19

Into the Belly of the Beast: Counterfeiting Identity for Survival 33

Probing Secret Conversions: Helen Fremont's Anguished Inquisition 43

2 Deciphering Enigma Codes 54

Shadowing the Furtive Father Beyond the Grave: Mary Gordon's Ambivalent Inquiry 56

"Love Is No Detective": Germaine Greer's Guilty Hunt 65

Family on the Lam: A Son Running After Secrets 74

A Scavenger in the Archives: The "Memory Boy" Tracks His Parents 83

The Naked Lady's Face and the Detective's Effacement 91

3 The Men Who Were Not There 99

Sleuthing Amidst the Shards of the Past: Tracking Absence in the Austers 101

The Letters and the Flag: Recuperating a Lost Father 110

Speaking Him into the World: A Daughter Reenters Her Father's History 119

A Father Gone Missing: Documenting a Broken Bond 128

4 Becoming One's Parent 137

The Limits of Privacy: Decorum and Exposure at the Ackerleys 139

"Lies Like Contagious Diseases": The Secrets of the Duke and His Son 147

Imagining Himself in the Paternal Matrix 155

Shared Secrets in the Fun House 161

5 Breaking the Silence 174

Race, Secrecy, and Discovery: Black on White, White on Black 176

Conclusion: Freedom or Exploitation? 186

Bibliography 189

Index 195

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