Haaken’s Review of Douglas’s Contesting Childhood

Janice Haaken’s review of Kate Douglas’s Contesting Childhood: Autobiography, Trauma, and Memory indicates that Douglas has interrogated the genre expectations of the childhood autobiography: “Douglas gathers up a rich web of autobiographical writing on childhood trauma to tell a larger cultural tale of the search for an authentic past” (853). “Douglas describes the demand on…

Montaigne’s “good witness”

Michel de Montaigne indicates a distrust of witnesses who are sophisticated enough to bend and manipulate a story to fit a preconceived point of view, individuals who “cannot help changing their story a little in order to make their views triumph and be more persuasive” (6): That man of mine was a simple, rough fellow…

Schwartzkopf – It Doesn’t Take a Hero

General Schwarzkopf’s autobiography opens with the mention that he was shaped by emotion – by Vietnam and his mother’s alcoholism as much as by his father being a general (x).  And I wonder now if it it was his experience in Vietnam that led to what I would consider a “conservative” approach to Desert Shield…

Life Writing Authorizes Trauma

Maurice Stevens points out how trauma has long fallen on gendered and racial lines.  The litigious nature of traumatic experience constrains the resulting “in group.”  In the past, railroad companies would employ lawyers in the effort to avoid blame by reducing the number of individuals who could be considered injured (CITATION Stevens) – likewise, Euro-Americans have…

Memory and Freewriting – How We Integrate Reading into Research and the Classroom

In writing these blog posts, I find that I’m not doing the kind of simultaneous reading and quoting that I imagined I would be doing. Instead, I find myself doing free association, drawing in examples from memory that I’ve read over the past few years (or longer).  Clearly, the brain (as a technology) is capable…

Theory Is Hermeneutic – Possible Response to Raúl Sánchez?

If we theorize theories of writing as examples of writing, as Raúl Sánchez does, then we must acknowledge that theories function as hermeneutic collection systems, determining the focus of ongoing discourses by constraining the locus of language available to theorists. Thus, to be a successful theorist, one must appropriately collect evidence from previous articulation a…

Literature and Media Aggregators are Hermeneutic Collection Systems

i get my news from Yahoo.  Mostly because that’s my e-mail login, but also because the story headlines (and the stories themselves) are interesting.  I feel better informed of global and national events because of all this “random” reading.  But these stories are curated by the editors at Yahoo, supplemented by the Associated Press, and…