English Literature

Memories, Histories, Selves: On Writing a Memoir

Professor Alison Light, Edinburgh University

Memoirs are a history from inside – like memories, they appear plural, unreliable, and – alas! - potentially interminable; unlike conventional autobiography, they need not move from cradle to grave and they can span a number of genres, from travel writing to intimate confessions.  In this seminar I shall talk briefly about some of the ways in which different memoirs, mostly from the twentieth century, have evoked ‘being a self in history’.  I shall also discuss some of the challenges and pleasures of writing a memoir of my marriage to the historian and socialist, Raphael Samuel, who died in 1996.

Biography

Professor Alison Light

Alison Light is a writer and Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of English at Edinburgh University.  She is also an Honorary Professor in the Department of English, University College, London, and a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.  She is the author of Forever England: Literature, Femininity and Conservatism between the Wars, Mrs Woolf and the Servants, and most recently, Common People: the History of an English Family (which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2014).  She has published widely on issues to do with modern British culture and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.

Curved bookshelf
Oct 13 2017 -

Memories, Histories, Selves: On Writing a Memoir

In this seminar Professor Alison Light will talk about some of the ways in which different memoirs, mostly from the twentieth century, have evoked ‘being a self in history’.

Project room (1.06)
50 George Square
Edinburgh
EH8 9LH