New Books: Serial Memoir: Archiving American Lives by Nicole Stamant

9781137410320Serial Memoir: Archiving American Lives by Nicole Stamant

Serial Memoir: Archiving American Lives interrogates the presentation of subjectivity in serial memoir, arguing that seriality not only influences the way we read and understand contemporary autobiographical texts, it also changes our approach. In serial memoir, multiple versions of selfhood create an archive for the author because the selves and stories are materially collected, preserved, and (re)collected. Curiously neglected in critical examinations of the genre, serial memoir represents a significant trend in life writing as it illustrates a fundamental transition in how we document and archive our lives. In chapters examining the works of Mary McCarthy, Maya Angelou, Art Spiegelman, and Augusten Burroughs, Nicole Stamant shows some of the ways that serial memoirists record, engage, and perform lived experience in accord with larger social or cultural shifts in how people interact with one another; how they see themselves and their own participation in the global (and often virtual) sphere; and how they feel they can most effectively record their life narratives. Ultimately, seriality in memoir provides us with new ways to understand ourselves, and our lives, in relation to our pervasive serial culture.