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MemoirAn Introduction$
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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

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Memoir and Genre

Memoir and Genre

(p.33) [2] Memoir and Genre

G. Thomas Couser

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how an understanding of genre in a broad context is essential for a full appreciation of memoir. At its most fundamental level, the importance of genre is that it indicates how a narrative is to be taken. It is not so important to classify a text properly as it is to respond appropriately. Memoir may take the form of conversion narrative, confession, apology, testimony, and coming-of-age narrative. The differences among some of these are best understood as matters of the underlying relation in each between the I's: the I-now (the narrator) and the I-then (the narrator's earlier self). Seeing them this way may demonstrate the utility of generic analysis.

Keywords:   memories, genres, life writing, narrative techniques

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