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Closer to the truth than any fact : memoir, memory, and Jim Crow / Jennifer Jensen Wallach.

By: Wallach, Jennifer Jensen, 1974-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, [2008]Copyright date: ©2008Description: x, 176 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780820330693 (alk. paper); 0820330698 (alk. paper).Report number: 2007039026Subject(s): African Americans -- Social conditions -- Historiography | African Americans -- Segregation -- Historiography | Race discrimination -- United States -- Historiography | Autobiography -- African American authors | African Americans -- Biography -- History and criticism | African Americans Biography History and criticism | African Americans Segregation Historiography | African Americans Social conditions Historiography | Autobiography African American authors | Race discrimination United States HistoriographyAdditional physical formats: Online version:: "Closer to the truth than any fact".DDC classification: 305.896/073 Other classification: NB 5550 | 15.87 | 17.93 | 18.06 | 7,26
Contents:
Autobiography and the transformation of historical understanding -- Subjectivity and the felt experience of history -- Literary techniques and historical understanding -- African American memoirists remember Jim Crow -- White memoirists remember Jim Crow -- Talking of another world.
Summary: Wallach (Georgia College and State Univ.) provides a fascinating look at literary memoirs that deal with US racism against African Americans. She rightly notes that historians have been loathe to accept memoirs as historical documents, since the genre is by nature subjective. However, she persuasively demonstrates that memoirs (as representative of "emotive inquiry") are indeed valuable primary documents, when analyzed properly. Wallach examines both black memoirists (Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates Jr.) and white memoirists (Willie Morris, Lillian Smith, and William Alexander Percy), investigating each independently and comparatively. The insights from her explications are remarkable, derived particularly through her use of theoretical and historiographical material. By maintaining that literary (as opposed to nonliterary) memoirs provide the deepest historical understanding expressly because literary critics can apply their disciplinary tools to mine the material, Wallach will undoubtedly provoke a lively debate over the comparable utility of other kinds of memoirs, such as popular, vernacular, or ethnographic. Likewise contentious may be her focus on southern rather than broadly US racism. J.B. Wolford University of Missouri--St. Louis distributed by Syndetics.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
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E185.61 .W1925 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001937192

Includes bibliographical references (pages 163-169) and index.

Autobiography and the transformation of historical understanding -- Subjectivity and the felt experience of history -- Literary techniques and historical understanding -- African American memoirists remember Jim Crow -- White memoirists remember Jim Crow -- Talking of another world.

Wallach (Georgia College and State Univ.) provides a fascinating look at literary memoirs that deal with US racism against African Americans. She rightly notes that historians have been loathe to accept memoirs as historical documents, since the genre is by nature subjective. However, she persuasively demonstrates that memoirs (as representative of "emotive inquiry") are indeed valuable primary documents, when analyzed properly. Wallach examines both black memoirists (Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates Jr.) and white memoirists (Willie Morris, Lillian Smith, and William Alexander Percy), investigating each independently and comparatively. The insights from her explications are remarkable, derived particularly through her use of theoretical and historiographical material. By maintaining that literary (as opposed to nonliterary) memoirs provide the deepest historical understanding expressly because literary critics can apply their disciplinary tools to mine the material, Wallach will undoubtedly provoke a lively debate over the comparable utility of other kinds of memoirs, such as popular, vernacular, or ethnographic. Likewise contentious may be her focus on southern rather than broadly US racism. J.B. Wolford University of Missouri--St. Louis distributed by Syndetics.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Recognizing that memoirs provide significant historical data (if the analyst simply knows how to decode them), Wallach (Georgia College and State Univ.) provides a fascinating look at literary memoirs that deal with US racism against African Americans. She rightly notes that historians have been loathe to accept memoirs as historical documents, since the genre is by nature subjective. However, she persuasively demonstrates that memoirs (as representative of "emotive inquiry") are indeed valuable primary documents, when analyzed properly. Wallach examines both black memoirists (Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates Jr.) and white memoirists (Willie Morris, Lillian Smith, and William Alexander Percy), investigating each independently and comparatively. The insights from her explications are remarkable, derived particularly through her use of theoretical and historiographical material. By maintaining that literary (as opposed to nonliterary) memoirs provide the deepest historical understanding expressly because literary critics can apply their disciplinary tools to mine the material, Wallach will undoubtedly provoke a lively debate over the comparable utility of other kinds of memoirs, such as popular, vernacular, or ethnographic. Likewise contentious may be her focus on southern rather than broadly US racism. Beautifully written and intellectually engaging. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. J. B. Wolford University of Missouri--St. Louis

Author notes provided by Syndetics

JENNIFER JENSEN WALLACH is an assistant professor of history at Georgia College and State University. She has also taught at Stonehill College.

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