Texas A&M University
McDaniel-Carder, Nicole Eve.
Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007.
Degree: PhD, English, 2010, Texas A&M University
In this dissertation, I examine the practice of what I term serial memoir in the
second-half of the twentieth century in American literature, arguing that serial memoir
represents an emerging and significant trend in life writing as it illustrates a transition in
how a particular generation of writers understands lived experience and its textual
representation. During the second-half of the twentieth century, and in tandem with the
rapid technological advancements of postmodern and postindustrial culture, I look at the
serial authorship and publication of multiple self-reflexive texts and propose that serial
memoir presents a challenge to the historically privileged techniques of linear
storytelling, narrative closure, and the possibility for autonomous subjectivity in
American life writing. As generic boundaries become increasingly fluid, postmodern
memoirists are able to be both more innovative and overt about how they have
constructed the self at particular moments in time. Following the trend of examining life
writing through contemporary theories about culture, narrative, and techniques of self-representation,
I engage the serial memoirs of Mary McCarthy, Maya Angelou, Art
Spiegelman, and Augusten Burroughs as I suggest that these authors iterate the self as serialized, recursive, genealogically constructed, and material. Finally, the fact that
these are well-known memoirists underscores the degree to which serial memoir has
become mainstream in American autobiographical writing. Serial memoir emphasizes
such issues as temporality and memory, repetition and recursivity, and witnessing and
testimony, and as such, my objective in this project is to theorize the practice of serial
memoir, a form that has been largely neglected in critical work, as I underscore its
significance in relation to twentieth-century American culture. I contend that seriality in
contemporary American memoir is a burgeoning and powerful form of self-expression,
and that a close examination of how authors are presenting and re-presenting themselves
as they challenge conventional life writing narrative structures will influence not only
the way we read and understand contemporary memoir, but will impact our approaches
to self-reflexive narrative structures and provide us with new ways to understand
ourselves, and our lives, in relation to the serial culture in which we live.
Advisors/Committee Members: Stabile, Susan M. (advisor), Robinson, Sally (committee member), Matthews, Pamela (committee member), Radzik, Linda (committee member).
Subjects/Keywords: memoir; seriality; American; serial memoir, autobiography; twentieth-century; postmodernism
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
McDaniel-Carder, N. E. (2010). Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007. (Doctoral Dissertation). Texas A&M University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2009-08-3252
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
McDaniel-Carder, Nicole Eve. “Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007.” 2010. Doctoral Dissertation, Texas A&M University. Accessed September 25, 2020.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
McDaniel-Carder, Nicole Eve. “Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007.” 2010. Web. 25 Sep 2020.
McDaniel-Carder NE. Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Texas A&M University; 2010. [cited 2020 Sep 25].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2009-08-3252.
Council of Science Editors:
McDaniel-Carder NE. Seriality in Contemporary American Memoir: 1957-2007. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Texas A&M University; 2010. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2009-08-3252