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Palgrave Macmillan

Serial Memoir

Archiving American Lives

ISBN 9781137410320
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

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. 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.

Nicole Stamant is Assistant Professor of English at Agnes Scott College, USA. Her articles on life writing and American literature have appeared or are forthcoming in ARIEL, MELUS, a/b: Auto/Biography, South Central Review, and The Hemingway Review.

1. Introduction: Archiving American Lives in Serial Memoir
2. Serial Structures, The Archive, and Mary McCarthy's 'Perfect Execution of the Idea'
3. Alternate Archives: Maya Angelou's the Complete Autobiographies or the Seriality of a Life Mosaic
4. 'Too Meta to Live': The Materiality of Seriality From Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' to Meta Maus
5. Augusten Burroughs and Serial Culture
6. Conclusion: 'Veneration of the Trace': Archiving American Lives into the Twenty-First Century


The rise of the serial memoir in the latter half of the twentieth century and beyond is an important and timely topic, one that has not previously been addressed in any sustained way by scholars in the field. The first critic to deal with seriality at length and in depth, Stamant makes a substantial contribution to the field. - G. Thomas Couser, Hofstra University, USA
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