Memoir and Autobiography

February 17, 2020 - This week Marlon and Jake delve into the very real lives of very dead writers with an episode about Memoir and Autobiography.

From Gore Vidal to Frank McCourt, Ulysses S. Grant to Gabriel García Márquez, they discuss how memory compares to history and whether the trustworthiness of a memoir really matters if the book is a compelling read. Their discussion about WASPy realism leads them to debate whether John Cheever or John Updike is the better writer, and Marlon poses the scandalous question of whether Jane Austen lacked passion (gasp!). Whether they’re talking about philandering playwrights or humorous newspaper columnists, Marlon and Jake prove that truth really can be stranger than fiction.

Memoir is still just one person's opinion.
—Marlon James

Select titles mentioned in this episode:

  • Personal Memoirs by Ulysses Grant
  • Palimpsest by Gore Vidal
  • The Night of the Gun by David Carr
  • Act One by Moss Hart
  • Once in a Lifetime by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Rabbit Series (Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit At Rest) by John Updike
  • The Maples Stories by John Updike
  • The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck
  • If Life is a Bowl of Cherries by Erma Bombeck

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