Depending on whom you ask—or what lens you apply—memoir is either a boomlet that burst or a timeless form just now coming into its own. The first lens, the literary lens, gets a fair amount of press attention. The second lens, a more hidden one, may need a little more magnification. While I believe memoir is just coming into its own, let’s look at a few expert views.
The Literary Lens: A Genre Comes Into Its Own
Some call our time “the age of memoir,” most notably William Zinsser in Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (1998).
Thomas Larson, in The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading & Writing and Personal Narrative (2007), makes memoir sound like Davy Crockett when he says it burst forth “sui generis from the castle of autobiography and the wilds of the personal essay.”
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Read the rest at Jane Friedman’s blog here. Be sure to read the comments at the end. And add one of your own!