Tuesday, February 02, 2016


… Public Books — The Year of Black Memoir. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Memoir, the offspring of the slave narrative, is not simply a form within the Black literary tradition; it has thoroughly shaped that tradition. From personal essays to bildungsromans, stories of becoming and remembering are essential to it. Following the path laid by those running to freedom and living to tell about it, Black memoirists continue to use the motifs of movement and literacy as markers of emancipation. However, in the current landscape, when Black life is so varied and complex, no memoir can stand as a singular representation of Black life, regardless of how compelling it might be. They stand in a tradition but the world is not the same.

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