Memoir: An Introduction

Paperback | January 18, 2012

byG. Thomas Couser

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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 inmost MFA workshops. Courses in what is now called "life writing" study memoir alongside personal essays, diaries, and autobiographies. Memoir: An Introduction proffers a succinct and comprehensive survey 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; its early American roots are examined in Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and colonial captivity narratives; and its ethical conundrums are considered via the imbroglios brought on by the questionable claims in RigobertaMenchu'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 ArtSpiegelman's Maus.

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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 inmost MFA workshops. Courses in what is now cal...

G. Thomas Couser is the author of several books on life writing, including Recovering Bodies, Signifying Bodies, Vulnerable Subjects, and Altered Egos. He lives in Connecticut.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 5.51 × 8.11 × 0.71 inPublished:January 18, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199826927

ISBN - 13:9780199826926

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. What Memoir Is, and What Memoir Isn't2. Memoir and Genre3. Memoir's Forms4. Memoir's Ethics5. Memoir's American Roots6. Contemporary American Memoir7. The Work of MemoirWorks CitedIndex