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Download But enough about me: why we read other people's lives by Nancy K. Miller PDF

By Nancy K. Miller

In her most up-to-date paintings of private feedback, Nancy okay. Miller tells the tale of ways a lady who grew up within the Fifties and bought misplaced within the Sixties turned a feminist critic within the Nineteen Seventies. As in her earlier books, Miller interweaves items of her autobiography with the memoirs of contemporaries with a purpose to discover the unforeseen ways in which the tales of different people's lives supply aspiring to our personal. The evolution she chronicles used to be lived through a new release of literary women who got here of age in the course of profound social swap and, buoyed by means of the power of second-wave feminism, grew to become writers, teachers, and activists. Miller's memories shape one woman's installment in a collective memoir that continues to be unfolding, an intimate web page of a gaggle portrait in method.

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Sample text

And so, in , inspired by the example of Judy Chicago, I renamed myself. At the same time, the idea of returning to my father’s (also my “maiden”) name seemed regressive. Not bold enough to go all the way and call myself Nancy New York, or to pick a name that pleased me out of the phone book, I took my mother’s name, Miller. It was not lost on me that this was still to take a man’s—my grandfather’s—name or that I was taking the name of my worthiest adversary, my mother. Despite these contradictions, it seemed the perfect solution.

17 Even seated, Miss Burstein seems large. Looming, is how I remember her, standing, maybe leaning on the desk, so that her shoes—whatever came before “earth shoes”—are visible. Even more than her voice, I remember mainly the manner of speaking—of detached, almost smirky smartness (a Hunter trademark) that shaped her mouth, curled her lips when she passed judgment. But what did we read with Miss Burstein? I cannot remember. Di Prima attributes finding Keats—her inspiration for her ideas about poetry, about becoming a poet—in her class.

In the back and forth between what’s on the page and in your head, your “you” becomes text. Like the passion for biography, the memoir craze feeds the hunger for a different, or at least more interesting, life through literature—even if the memoirs describe a life, like those of the biographies, plagued by suffering, illness, obsession, or madness. But with this twist: however hellish the lives, told in memoirs they give you just what your unrecorded history lacks (and that the novel used to offer): a narrative through which to make sense of your own past.

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