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The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again

by

The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Sven Birkerts is the author of Reading Life: Books for the Ages, Readings, The Gutenberg Elegies, and a memoir, My Sky Blue Trades. He teaches at Harvard University and at the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the editor of AGNI. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.
In The Art of Time in Memoir, critic, editor, and memoirist Sven Birkerts examines the human impulse to write about the self. "Memoir is, for better and often for worse, the genre of our times," Birkerts writes. But what makes one memoir memorable and another self-serving? What determines the difference between graceful disclosure and sensational self-exposure? Birkerts argues that the memoirist's strategies for presenting the subjective experience of time reveal the power and resonance of the writer's life. By examining memoirs such as Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory, Virginia Woolf's unfinished A Sketch of the Past, and Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, Birkerts describes the memoirist's essential art of assembling patterns of meaning, how the work stirs to life our own sense of past and present.

The Art of Time in Memoir is part of The Art of series, a new line of books by important authors on the craft of writing, edited by Charles Baxter. Each book examines a singular, but often assumed or neglected, issue facing the contemporary writer of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The Art of series means to restore the art of criticism while illuminating the art of writing.  Of the series, Baxter writes, “The Art Of series is meant to restore criticism as an art, with writers examining features of their craft in lively and colorful prose.”

“Respected critic Birkerts has written an insightful appreciation of the memoir form, works that occupy a growing . . . place in our literary culture. Analyzing five ways different writers have chosen to transform their memories into coherent narrative, Birkerts discerns the underlying principle of the memoir form: balancing two perspectives by revisiting significant events in the past to discover a pattern in one's present life . . . The appeal of this slim volume lies in Birkert's graceful prose and lucid analysis.”—Publishers Weekly

“Respected critic Birkerts has written an insightful appreciation of the memoir form, works that occupy a growing . . . place in our literary culture. Analyzing five ways different writers have chosen to transform their memories into coherent narrative, Birkerts discerns the underlying principle of the memoir form: balancing two perspectives by revisiting significant events in the past to discover a pattern in one's present life. Nabokov, Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard are what he calls the Lyrical Seekers, who use sensuous apprehension to explore the nature of being. Frank Conroy's Stop-Time is one of the examples of the coming-of-age memoir, as is Birkerts's own My Sky Blue Trades. Fathers and sons, e.g., Paul Auster, Geoffrey Wolff and Blake Morrison, are distinguished from mothers and daughters, e.g., Jamaica Kincaid and Vivian Gornick. Finally, works by Mary Karr and Lucy Grealy are among those illustrating the category of trauma and memory. The appeal of this slim volume lies in Birkert's graceful prose and lucid analysis. Written for the general reader, it artfully conveys the basics of the craft and will be a particular boon to reading groups.”—Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Respected critic Birkerts has written an insightful appreciation of the memoir form, works that occupy a 'growing... place in our literary culture.' Analyzing five ways different writers have chosen to transform their memories into coherent narrative, Birkerts discerns the underlying principle of the memoir form: balancing two perspectives by revisiting significant events in the past to discover a pattern in one's present life. Nabokov, Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard are what he calls the 'Lyrical Seekers,' who use 'sensuous apprehension' to explore the nature of being. Frank Conroy's Stop-Time is one of the examples of the coming-of-age memoir, as is Birkerts's own My Sky Blue Trades. Fathers and sons, e.g., Paul Auster, Geoffrey Wolff and Blake Morrison, are distinguished from mothers and daughters, e.g., Jamaica Kincaid and Vivian Gornick. Finally, works by Mary Karr and Lucy Grealy are among those illustrating the category of trauma and memory. The appeal of this slim volume lies in Birkert's graceful prose and lucid analysis. Written for the general reader, it artfully conveys the basics of the craft and will be a particular boon to reading groups." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The Art Of series is a new line of books reinvigorating the practice of craft and criticism. Each book will be a brief, witty, and useful exploration of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a writer impassioned by a singular craft issue. The Art Of volumes will provide a series of sustained examinations of key but sometimes neglected aspects of creative writing by some of contemporary literature's finest practioners.
 
In The Art of Time in Memoir, critic and memoirist Sven Birkerts examines the human impulse to write about the self. By examining memoirs such as Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory; Virginia Woolf's unfinished A Sketch of the Past; and Mary Karr's The Liars' Club, Birkerts describes the memoirist's essential art of assembling patterns of meaning, stirring to life our own sense of past and present.

About the Author

Sven Birkerts is the author of Reading Life: Books for the Ages, Readings,

The Gutenberg Elegies, and a memoir, My Sky Blue Trades. He teaches at Harvard University and at the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the editor of AGNI. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555974893
Author:
Birkerts, Sven
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Writing Skills
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - Nonfiction
Subject:
Autobiography
Subject:
Biography as a literary form
Subject:
Reference-Writing Nonfiction
Subject:
Reference/Writing
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series:
Art of
Publication Date:
20071231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
120
Dimensions:
7.1 x 5.21 x 0.605 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Folk Art
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies
Reference » Writing » General
Reference » Writing » Nonfiction
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Zoology » General

The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again New Trade Paper
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Product details 120 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555974893 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Respected critic Birkerts has written an insightful appreciation of the memoir form, works that occupy a 'growing... place in our literary culture.' Analyzing five ways different writers have chosen to transform their memories into coherent narrative, Birkerts discerns the underlying principle of the memoir form: balancing two perspectives by revisiting significant events in the past to discover a pattern in one's present life. Nabokov, Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard are what he calls the 'Lyrical Seekers,' who use 'sensuous apprehension' to explore the nature of being. Frank Conroy's Stop-Time is one of the examples of the coming-of-age memoir, as is Birkerts's own My Sky Blue Trades. Fathers and sons, e.g., Paul Auster, Geoffrey Wolff and Blake Morrison, are distinguished from mothers and daughters, e.g., Jamaica Kincaid and Vivian Gornick. Finally, works by Mary Karr and Lucy Grealy are among those illustrating the category of trauma and memory. The appeal of this slim volume lies in Birkert's graceful prose and lucid analysis. Written for the general reader, it artfully conveys the basics of the craft and will be a particular boon to reading groups." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
The Art Of series is a new line of books reinvigorating the practice of craft and criticism. Each book will be a brief, witty, and useful exploration of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a writer impassioned by a singular craft issue. The Art Of volumes will provide a series of sustained examinations of key but sometimes neglected aspects of creative writing by some of contemporary literature's finest practioners.
 
In The Art of Time in Memoir, critic and memoirist Sven Birkerts examines the human impulse to write about the self. By examining memoirs such as Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory; Virginia Woolf's unfinished A Sketch of the Past; and Mary Karr's The Liars' Club, Birkerts describes the memoirist's essential art of assembling patterns of meaning, stirring to life our own sense of past and present.
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