But enough about me: why we read other people's lives by Nancy K. Miller

By Nancy K. Miller

In her newest paintings of private feedback, Nancy okay. Miller tells the tale of the way a lady who grew up within the Nineteen Fifties and received misplaced within the Sixties grew to become a feminist critic within the Seventies. As in her past books, Miller interweaves items of her autobiography with the memoirs of contemporaries that allows you to discover the unforeseen ways in which the tales of different people's lives supply intending to our personal. The evolution she chronicles used to be lived by way of a new release of literary ladies who got here of age in the course of profound social switch and, buoyed via the power of second-wave feminism, turned writers, teachers, and activists. Miller's memories shape one woman's installment in a collective memoir that remains unfolding, an intimate web page of a bunch portrait in technique.

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Di Prima was on a different track. To justify the betrayal of a friend, she portrays herself as being driven by a higher necessity according to whose logic she was entitled to this child: that this “was my right . . simply follow my Will, wherever it now led me” (). Despite Roi’s marked lack of enthusiasm—“If you really loved me, . . you’d have an abortion” ()—di Prima is determined to have the baby she willed into existence. “Roi was uni what do you think of my memoir? versally pitied,” she admits ().

One of the meanings of the word “memoir” is memorandum. And this meaning surfaces in another French expression that has passed into English: the aide-mémoire. Something that helps memory. I want to propose the notion of memoir  what do you think of my memoir? What helps you remember. In this sense what memoirs do is support you in the act of remembering. 11 We are witnessing a very powerful anxiety about memory, about remembering, very particular to our time: about gathering the testimony of the last living survivors of the Holocaust.

I was curious, as I’ve said, but not because I anticipated the effects of identification like those produced by Minor Characters or How I Became Hettie Jones. In part I didn’t expect a memory prompt because, unlike Glassman, Cohen, and me, di Prima wasn’t Jewish (the defining category when I was growing up). I didn’t expect to find connections to my middleclass nice Jewish girl life. But Recollections surprised me. Like Joyce Glassman (whose classmate she was) and me, di Prima attended Hunter College High School (which I didn’t know when I read Memoirs of a Beatnik), and Hunter was an experience that marks a girl for life.

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