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Memory and Narrative

The Weave of Life-Writing

Memory and Narrative presents an elegant, authoritative account of how life-writing has changed over time to arrive at its present form. James Olney, one of the most distinguished scholars of autobiography, tells the story of an evolving literary form that originated in the autobiographical writings of St. Augustine, underwent profound changes in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s life-writing trilogy, and found a momentary conclusion in the work of Samuel Beckett.

"This is an elegant work of scholarship." —Jason Berry, Chicago Tribune

"Examines how the fascinating, reciprocal relationship between memory and narrative has evolved over the course of 17 centuries. . . . Olney’s work is a valuable companion to his subjects’ primary texts." —Booklist

446 pages | 2 halftones, 1 line drawing | 6 x 9 | © 1999

Biography and Letters

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Table of Contents

1. Memory and the Narrative Imperative
First Interlude
2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Crisis of Narrative Memory
Second Interlude
3. Not I
4. Narrative
5. Memory


Phi Beta Kappa: Christian Gauss Award

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