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Article contents

The Entangled Self: Genre Bondage in the Age of the Memoir

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Extract

So, I'm just like everybody else. I go to the bookstore. I pick out a book I love. If it says memoir, I know that—that maybe the names and dates and times have been compressed, because that' what a memoir is.

—Oprah Winfrey on Larry King Live, 11 January 2006

I wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require. I altered events all the way through the book.

—James Frey, New York Times, 2 February 2006

Sometimes the facts threaten the truth.

—Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Of course it is impossible to tell the truth. For example, how does one know it? I will not belabor the difficulty by telling you how hard I have tried. And if compulsion forces me to tell the truth, it may also lead me into error, or invention.

—Kate Millett, Flying

Is it autobiography if parts of it are not true? Is it fiction if parts of it are?

—Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons

Type
The Changing Profession
Copyright
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2007

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