|The Age of Memoir|
This lecture is geared toward the public, in particular, readers and writers of memoir.
The memoir is rapidly becoming the literary form of our time. Hundreds of thousands of people, from teenagers to octogenarians, are seeking out personal narrative. One reason for the memoir’s popularity is our deep need to explore the age-old questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where can I find meaning in my life?
But why has memoir risen in our time? Why are seven of ten nonfiction paperback bestsellers memoir or autobiography? Memoirist and critic Thomas Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memoirist, examines the causes for memoir’s popularity. On one hand, we are reacting to a society gone crazy with fake personas and instant celebrity. On the other hand, because we live longer and age more healthily, we want to know the emotional truths of our lives and to pass this legacy on to others. The memoir may be the sole written form that brings lasting value to our families and friendships, to our achievements and losses, and to the development of our individuality.