written in [the French] Nation and Language since the days of
Henry the 3d , would almost make up a
Library’, Gilbert Burnet declared in the preface to his
Memoires of the Lives of the Dukes of Hamilton and
Castleherald (1677). Nor was the genre’s popularity
confined, he noted, to the French, for ‘this
The Enduring Rage of Baldwin and the Education of a
White Southern Baptist Queer
Delivered in Paris at the 2016 International James Baldwin Conference just two weeks
before the killing of 49 individuals at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 26 June
2016, “Relatively Conscious” explores, through the eyes of an LGBT American and the words
of James Baldwin, how separate and unequal life remains for so many within the United
States. Written in the tradition of memoir, it recounts how, just as Paris saved Baldwin
from himself, the writer’s life was transformedupon the discovery of Baldwin.
James Baldwin has frequently been written about in terms of his relationship to geographical locations such as Harlem, Paris, St. Paul-de-Vence, Istanbul, and “the transatlantic,” but his longstanding connection to the American South, a region that served as a vexed and ambiguous spiritual battleground for him throughout his life and career, has been little discussed, even though Baldwin referred to himself as “in all but no technical legal fact, a Southerner.” This article argues that the South has been seriously underconsidered as a major factor in Baldwin’s psyche and career and that were it not for the challenge to witness the Southern Civil Rights movement made to Baldwin in the late 1950s, he might never have left Paris and become the writer and thinker into which he developed. It closely examines Baldwin’s fictional and nonfictional engagements with the American South during two distinct periods of his career, from his first visit to the region in 1957 through the watershed year of 1963, and from 1963 through the publication of Baldwin’s retrospective memoir No Name in the Street in 1972, and it charts Baldwin’s complex and often contradictory negotiations with the construction of identity in white and black Southerners and the South’s tendency to deny and censor its historical legacy of racial violence. A few years before his death, Baldwin wrote that “[t]he spirit of the South is the spirit of America,” and this essay investigates how the essential question he asked about the region—whether it’s a bellwether for America’s moral redemption or moral decline—remains a dangerous and open one.
For Restoration and early-eighteenth-century writers, history proper was only one of a wide range of forms that could be used to represent the past. Accordingly, while some sought to record historical phenomena using large-scale formal narrative, others chose to depict the past as satire, secret history, scandal chronicle, biography, journal, letter, and memoir. A poem like John Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, for example, could claim to be fulfilling neoclassical history's moral purpose of warning readers against vice, but it could present historical phenomena with an undisguised political bias. Equally, Daniel Defoe's Secret History of the White-Staff could address the same public events as a formal historical narrative, but recount them through the eyes of a politically opposed narrator. Writing for a broader audience, memoirists, scandal chroniclers, historians, and satirists were naturally prompted to depict historical phenomena in ways that differed from the neoclassical ideal. The increased attention to topical events and individual characters likely helped to attract new groups of readers to historical literature, but it was not without its critics. The genres of memoirs, satires, and secret histories, often painted portraits using far more than the 'two or three Colours' recommended by artes historicae. By mid 1750, the perceived 'ebb' in English historiography had ended - but also had the sense that history could be authoritatively defined as 'a continued narration of things true, great, and publick'. The full-length narratives of John Oldmixon, and other 'hack' historians had by mid-century been hastily consigned to the library or the dustbin.
Louise Erdrich is one of the most critically and commercially successful Native American writers. This book is a fully comprehensive treatment of her writing, analysing the textual complexities and diverse contexts of her work to date. Drawing on the critical archive relating to Erdrich's work and Native American literature, it explores the full depth and range of her authorship. Breaking Erdrich's oeuvre into several groupings – poetry, early and late fiction, memoir and children's writing – it develops individual readings of both the critical arguments and the texts themselves. The book argues that Erdrich's work has developed an increasing political acuity to the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in Native American literature, and her insistence on being read as an American writer is shown to be in constant and mutually inflecting dialogue with her Ojibwe heritage.
Writing Otherwise is a collection of essays by established feminist and cultural critics interested in experimenting with new styles of expression. Leading figures in their field, such as Marianne Hirsch, Lynne Pearce, Griselda Pollock, Carol Smart, Jackie Stacey and Janet Wolff, all risk new ways of writing about themselves and their subjects. Contributions move beyond conventional academic writing and into more exploratory registers to consider subjects such as: feminist collaborations, memories of dislocation, movement and belonging, intimacy and affect, encountering difference, passionate connections to art and opera. Some chapters use personal writing to interrogate theoretical issues; others put conceptual questions next to therapeutic ones; all of them offer the reader new ways of thinking about how and why we write, and how we might do it differently. Discovering the creative spaces in between traditional genres, many of the chapters show how new styles of writing open up new ways of doing cultural criticism. Aimed at both general and academic readers interested in how scholarly writing might be more innovative and creative, this collection introduces the personal, the poetic and the experimental into the frame of cultural criticism. This collection of essays is highly interdisciplinary and contributes to debates in sociology, history, anthropology, art history, cultural and media studies and gender studies.
brand names’ in academia, locating Kingston along with the likes of Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare. 5 Much of the critical debate surrounding Warrior has centred upon the book’s troubling generic status. Ostensibly a memoir – the subtitle is ‘Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts’ – the book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, but it blends together elements of several genres, including fiction, myth, auto/biography and memoir, in a manner that is not easily categorised.
The Woman Warrior’s critical controversy
to take England’s side against any criticism
(especially, perhaps, by an American). But not so long ago I put quite a bit of
energy into my own demonising of England – the other side of my idealising of
‘America’, perhaps. In 1976, my father wrote a short memoir of his own, reflecting
on his experiences in Germany in the 1930s, recording the increasing processes of
Aryanisation that he confronted in his work as a chemist, and the growing isolation in his everyday life. Towards the end, he expresses his gratitude to Britain:
It is too often
treats in fictional form issues raised by his later memoir Nothing to Be Frightened of.
Cross Channel assembles stories of the British and Irish in France across modern history. Its closing story ‘Tunnel’ concludes by explaining that all the stories have been written by an ‘elderly Englishman’ who has returned from France on the Eurotunnel train in 2015. This writer stands as a surrogate for the older Barnes, an author who has apparently taken elements of his train journey as imaginative platforms on which to develop the earlier stories
history and of memory insofar as it
relates to the institution of the institution.
In ‘The art of memoires’ , the second
in a series of three lectures given in memory of Paul de Man,
Derrida draws attention to de Man’s strong reading of
Hegel’s Aesthetics . Here are found difficult and
discontinuous elements that, as de Man puts it, ‘cannot be