Guide Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Imagining Lives by Jan Schwarz. In interwar and post-Holocaust New York, Yiddish autobiographers responded to the upheaval of modern Jewish life in ways that combined artistic innovation with commemoration for a world that is no more. Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers is the first comprehensive study of the autobiographical genre in Yiddish literature.

Jan Schwarz offers portraits of seven major Yiddish writers, showing the writer's struggles to shape the multiple identities of their ruptured lives in autobiographical fiction. This analysis of Yiddish life-writing includes discussions of literary representation, self and collectivity, and memory in modern Jewish literature.

Schwarz shows how Yiddish autobiographical fiction fuses novelistic elements and memoiristic truthfulness in ways that also characterize Jewish life-writing in English and Hebrew. His accessible style, biographical sketches, glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, and careful survey of notable texts takes readers on an incomparable journey through modern Yiddish literature. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.

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Paris Review - Philip Roth, The Art of Fiction No. 84

More filters. Sort order. Based on a series of case studies Singer, Peretz, etc. Liu, Wired, Sophie Roell, The Browser, via Salon. Legendary critic and memoirist Calvin Trillin discusses his favorite books of the genre. What may be different about a lot of the recent memoirs is the writers are not necessarily well known. Christina Haag, WSJ I once heard writing fiction described as planting a garden in the desert, and memoir as weeding in the jungle. What I experienced was more akin to chiseling, as if all that had happened was stone, and I had only faith and a small bit of metal to find the shape, to tap out the places where meaning might lie.

Invariably, to jot things down, I learned to carry a pen and index card with me wherever I went—even on beach walks clad only in a bikini. Times, , on people from our past banging on our cyberdoors, looking to set us straight on our memories. We take half-remembered events and stitch them together to form a larger story that will, we hope, resonate with others and help them make sense of their own scraps.

A first thing to ask yourself about personal narrative is: What portion of my experience will resonate with other people? The Fry Chronicles. Stephen Fry twitter address: StephenFry , as Fast Company puts it, transforms how we read by producing the first book truly designed for the Internet his memoirs. Sanford Dody's own memoir of ghostwriting: Giving Up the Ghost James Birrens' brainchild. Structured memoir writing, two pages at a time, on a different theme each week, including branching points in life, family, health and body, sexuality, spirituality, work, death--and sharing those pieces aloud in small groups.

I got instructor training through Cheryl Svensson when she and Anita Reyes taught together.

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There are many local workshops and some online: I love teaching it and participants seem to love it too. It tends to draw an older group, or younger adults at a stage of life crisis or soul-searching. Now it's of Everyman. Tristram Hunt, The Observer, Excellent essay. Writing not only plays fast and loose with the past; it hijacks the past.

Which may be why we put the past to paper. We want it hijacked What we want is a narrative, not a log; a tale, not a trial. This is why most people write memoirs using the conventions not of history, but of fiction.


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The more you can yank yourself away from your own intimacy with yourself, the more reliable your self-awareness is likely to be We should see ourselves as literary critics, putting each incident in the perspective of a longer life story. The narrative form is a more supple way of understanding human processes, even unconscious ones, than rationalistic analysis. See her website: Center for Journal Therapy.

What's Yours? It's an act of memory.

How Best to Read Auto-Fiction

Pick at your memories. An interesting read. Proceeds from the sale of an anthology I Speak From My Palms: The In Visible Memoirs Project Anthology help support the In Visible Memoirs Project, a project of no-cost, community-based writing workshops in communities underrepresented in literary publishing and programs. How can we achieve both uniqueness and universality? Another challenge: dealing with characters who really exist. How can we maintain our real-life relationships without compromising the stories we need to tell? Memoirists Sarah Saffian, Alexandra Styron, and Kathryn Harrison discuss these issues, in pursuit of a form of expression that we can support as both authors and daughters.

What was missing and forgotten was less often crucial or even trivial details of events than the events themselves, gone in their entirety.

Tracing the History of Jewish Autobiography

They alert us, calm us, reach toward us. They say implicitly, Yes, I have hoped, and yes, I have wanted, and I know that you have, too. Can a memoirist write with total honesty if she is worried about what her son might think? Christina Patterson, The Independent, Sharon Olds' account of her marital break-up made her a deserved TS Eliot winner.

But that doesn't mean confessional poetry is easy to pull off. Confessional poetry, says critic Mack Rosenthal, is poetry that "goes beyond customary bounds of reticence or personal embarrassment. Or how not to write a grief memoir, in her view. Should Joyce Carol Oates have revealed her second marriage? Tempest in a teapot? David L. Ulin, Jacket Copy blog, L. Two of the writers withheld important facts and wound up producing inferior books; the writer who held nothing back produced a masterpiece.

Joan Didion "understands that if you want to write about yourself, you have to give them something. Actually, Didion understands a far larger and deeper and darker truth. She understands that if you want to write about your grief, you have to give them everything.

My favorite: Ernest Hemingway's "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. Elsewhere, he writes "One of the saddest sentences I know is I wish I had asked my mother about that.


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  5. I wish I had asked my father about that. Writers are the custodians of memory so it's extremely important to get to people, interview your parents, your grandparents. Don't worry what anybody else thinks. The important thing is to be a recorder of the past. But it's very important work, I think, writing family history, whether anyone ever sees it or not.

    Stiles, Yahoo! Scott Raab's article for Esquire, based on an interview with the novelist in the town that provided the setting for so much of his fiction, is a Notable Narrative, as featured on Nieman Storyboard: Esquire goes home with Philip Roth Plot Twist : Philip Carlo, true crime writer with Lou Gehrig's disease, is working on his memoir. His deadline: his own death. And therein, to me, lies the privilege and also the challenge of teaching how to write memoir.