Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
MemoirAn Introduction$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

G. Thomas Couser

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199826902

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199826902.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 March 2021

What Memoir is, and What it is not

What Memoir is, and What it is not

(p.15) [1] What Memoir is, and What it is not

G. Thomas Couser

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the meaning of the slippery term “memoir” and why it has become the preferred term for literary life writing. It locates memoir within the context of a media constellation that represents the lives of actual human beings: portraiture, both painted and photographic; documentary films and biopics; oral anecdotes and family lore; blogs and electronic diaries; social media like Facebook; the obituary and death notice; the scrapbook, and so on. Unlike the novel, memoir is the literary face of a very common and fundamental human activity: the narration of our lives in our own terms. It is rooted in deep human needs, desires, and habitual practices. Nearly everyone engages in some form of this. So while it is not well understood as a literary enterprise, it is found all around us, all the time.

Keywords:   memoir, life writing, narratives, documentary films, biopics

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .