Séminaire Récits de Soi: "A Meeting with Thomas Couser"

Séance du séminaire "Nouvelles frontières du récit de soi" avec Thomas Couser.

Batiment T2, salle 2.44

Quality-of-life Writing: Illness, Disability, and Contemporary American Memoir

In 1909 the American man of letters William Dean Howells referred to autobiography as “the most democratic province in the republic of letters” because it is the most accessible of literary genres. In the Anglophone world that assessment is far truer now than when he uttered it over a century ago. Indeed, the “memoir boom” of the last several decades has seen a marked increase in the number of published (and self-published) narratives and heightened respectability for memoir as a literary genre, which is now taught under the rubric “the fourth genre” in creative writing programs. More important, the boom has also entailed a significant change in the demographics of memoir writers. Many are female, and they are often quite young. Perhaps more significant, it is increasingly common today for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses to produce autobiographical narratives published by trade presses. This talk will explore the forces behind, and the complexities of, this development in contemporary American life-writing.

G. Thomas Couser is retired from Hofstra University, where he taught English and founded a Disability Studies Program. His books include Vulnerable Subjects: Ethics and Life Writing (Cornell 2004), Signifying Bodies: Disability in Contemporary Life Writing (Michigan 2009), and Memoir: An Introduction (Oxford 2012). His most recent book is Letter to My Father: A Memoir (Hamilton Books, 2017).




Thursday, 24. October 2019 - 17:00 to 19:00