The Ethics of Memoir @ Link Wanderlust


Historically speaking, the identity of the author is irrelevant when it comes to critiquing the book. Memoir fraud could benefit readers.  Books like James Frey’s memoir of recovery from addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine may resonate with individuals who read the book to understand more about the deaddiction process. Sometimes autobiographies represent not an individual but a group of individuals and so a little bit of tampering with veracity is justifiable. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s multivolume work My Struggle seems to be true as well but autoficton could very well be fictional, authenticity only a matter of how real it seems to the reader or how well the writer makes up the truth.

“But that was then, and this, to put it mildly, is now. The rules have changed. The ethics of authorship are completely different. In academic discourse, hybridity is out; intersectionality is in. People are imagined as the sum of their race, gender, sexuality, ableness, and other identities. Individuals not only bear the entire history of these identities; they “own” them. A person who is not defined by them cannot tell the world what it is like to be a person who is. If you were not born it, you should not perform it.”

The question really is do literary hoaxes serve a purpose in this era of fake news, plagiarism and forgery? Read Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship by by Louis Menand for more.

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