The Work of Life Writing: Essays and Lectures – eBook PDF
At an age when memoirs and other forms of life writing are being produced and consumed in unparalleled numbers, The Work of Life Writing: Essays and Lectures (PDF) reminds readers that memoir is not only a “literary” genre or only entertainment.
Likewise, letters are not merely epiphenomena of our “real lives.” Correspondence does not only serve to communicate; it endorses and sustains human relationships. Memoir matters, and there’s life in letters. All life writing arises from our everyday lives and has distinct impacts on them and the culture in which we live.
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Life writing, in its several forms, does work that other forms of expression do not; it bears on the world in a way different from imaginative genres like drama, fiction, and poetry; it acts in and on history in noteworthy ways. Memoirs of disability and illness often seek to depathologize the conditions that they narrate. Memoirs of parents by their children extend or change relations forged initially face to face in the home.
“Couser’s The Work of Life Writing: Essays and Lectures gathers several of the most important essays of G. Thomas Couser’s model career at the forefront of life writing scholarship. Reminding us that life writing needs our attention for its social importance as much as its artistic strength, these dozen pieces treat the many diversities of life writing as exclusive literary forms that enact identities and relationships, especially under-represented ones. It was Couser who retold us that memoir is our most democratic of genres, and who brought the study of life writing to bear on illness and disability representation―one of the most important shifts in literary disability study in the past twenty years. This is an ebook for scholars and students alike, and will appeal to anyone obliged by the important cultural work of auto/biographical texts.” — Susannah B. Mintz, Professor of English, Skidmore College
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