Friday, January 22, 2010

Narcissism and literature

The new New Yorker has a review of a book titled "Memoir, a History," in which author Ben Yagoda looks at the history of memoirs starting with St. Augustine and coming down to our present era, in which a a desperate search by readers and the entertainment industry for authenticity and stories of redemption and triumph led to a spate of faked memoirs. (A couple years ago the NYT took notice of this phenomenon.) The writer of the review, Daniel Mendelsohn, names most of the recent flaming scandals except for the J.T. LeRoy hoax, but the LeRoy books weren't actually supposed to be memoirs. That particular flim-flam was more elaborate than a single (or series of) fabricated memoir.

For several years I've taken great pleasure in blogging about these cases, collected on my blog with the labels hoaxes and fakes (applied somewhat inconsistently, but do I look like a librarian?).

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