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Closer to the Truth Than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow (Paperback)
  • Closer to the Truth Than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow (Paperback)
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Closer to the Truth Than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow (Paperback)

£22.50
Paperback 192 Pages / Published: 30/06/2010
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Although historians frequently use memoirs as source material, too often they confine such usage to the anecdotal, and there is little methodological literature regarding the genre. This study articulates an approach to using memoirs as instruments of historical understanding. Jennifer Jensen Wallach applies these principles to memoirs about life in the American South during Jim Crow segregation, including works by Zora Neale Hurston, Willie Morris, Lillian Smith, Henry Louis Gates Jr., William Alexander Percy, and Richard Wright, making the provocative claim that creative writers are uniquely positioned to capture the complexities of another time and another place.

Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820335025
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 290 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 11 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A quietly but uncommonly ambitious work . . . Wallach's review of the theoretical literature on autobiography is refreshingly lucid and cogent. . . . I look forward to periodically rereading it and wrestling with its conclusions.

--W. Fitzhugh Brundage "Journal of American History "

Wallach's lucidly written essay offers much food for thought, both for scholars of history and life writing and for general readers trying to recapture the flavor of the past.

--Jeremy Popkin "Journal of Interdisciplinary History "

Historians and particularly history students will find many valuable insights in this book. Wallach lays out a theoretical framework for understanding memoirs as source material and then does an excellent job of putting that theory into practice.

--Steve Estes "author of I am a Man: Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement "

Wallach's interdisciplinary training allows her to demonstrate how attention to language, symbolism, allegory, and other literary devices can uncover more historically relevant content in a memoir than a mere surface reading would allow. This is a well-written and well-argued response to a single question: How should historians handle literary memoirs as historical sources?

--Jennifer Ritterhouse "author of Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race "

Singularly sensitive, well argued, and closely attuned to the many manifestations of southern rage.

--Journal of Southern History

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