The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative


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Taking readers on a tour of some of the best memoirs and essays of the past hundred years, Gornick traces the changing idea of self that has dominated the century, and demonstrates the enduring truth-speaker to be found in the work of writers as diverse as Edmund Gosse, Joan Didion, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, and Marguerite Duras.

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Nov 9, 2014

The Unconscious and the "I" Narrator

Gornick shows us how various essayists and memoirists, from classic writers such as Thomas De Quincey to Joan Didion and James Baldwin, work out the idea of self into a story that shapes experience, transforms event, and delivers wisdom. It's not so much what has happened to the writers, but rather what they make of what happened. This is not a "how to" write a memoir, but a close analysis of each writer's voice and "style" as it's revealed in how they each try to come to grips with who they are. Gornick's insights take one's breath away.

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