Through the Looking Glass

Writers’ Memoirs at the Turn of the 21st Century

Robert Kusek

Jagiellonian University Press

Through the Looking Glass

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Pub Date: May 2018

ISBN: 9788323342908

227 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $50.00£41.95

Through the Looking Glass

Writers’ Memoirs at the Turn of the 21st Century

Robert Kusek

Jagiellonian University Press

Through the Looking Glass provides a detailed and comprehensive study of the writer’s memoir and an exploration of the genre’s poetics. It presents the critical history of memoir and develops its own definition of the genre by focusing on such markers as phantasmatism of the pact between writer and reader, (auto)biographism of the space inhabited by the text, syllepsism of the subject, detotalization in terms of scope, and thematic content. The study also proposes an original typology of fifteen micro-genres of memoir (souvenirs d’enfance, souvenirs d’adolescence, falling away memoir, memoirs/scenes from life, patriography, matriography, parental memoir, autrememoir, pet memoir, [auto]pathography, [auto]thanatography, travelogue, periegetic memoir, ekphrastic memoir, and bibliomemoir). Out of over forty memoirs addressed by this study, five writers’ memoirs (by Andrew Motion, Rachel Cusk, Hilary Mantel, Julian Barnes, and J.M. Coetzee, respectively) are addressed in greater detail and thus acknowledged as the genre’s prime specimens.
Through the Looking Glass will have a significant impact on autobiography and memoir studies and is destined to make an important contribution to the critical scholarship as a seminal work. Each of the chapters is a tour de force of relevant critical discourse, masterly literary analysis, and sympathetic reading. It is an eminently superior piece of work Johan Jacobs, University of KwaZulu-Natal

About the Author

Robert Kusek is assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków. His research interests include life writing genres, the contemporary novel in English, poetics of memory and loss, as well as a comparative approach to literary studies.