Remembrances of Political Things Past : Memoirs of Gay Militancy as Militant Memoirs

Abstract : Writing memoirs allows participants in past social movements to reconstruct their militant identities through the mediation of memory. In recollecting and selecting memories, giving them a semblance of consistency, they project a subjective interpretation of their own militant involvement. Thus, as memoirists construct and deploy their past identities as militants, the writing itself can amount to militancy. This study focuses on four memoirs. The terms “memoir” and “autobiography” overlap: not all memoirs are full-fledged autobiographies covering their authors’ lifespans until the time of writing (Taylor 2009, 125, 128); memoirs can offer more tentative interpretations of their authors’ lives than autobiographies (Pascal [1960] 1985; Lejeune [1975] 1989).1 The autobiographical memoirs examined in this study are approached less from the standpoint of the authors’ “sense of identity and wholeness” (Watson 1999, 17) than that of the militant consciousness deployed in the writing (Stanley 1993, 41-43; Peneff 1994, 26-27; Pudal 1994). Rather than focusing on the tension between the subjective recollection of memories and an objectifying interpretation, I consider what authors effect in retrieving their personal, intimate experiences. If, rather than seeking the truth, autobiographical memoirs strive for truthfulness (Dosse 2005, 57-66; Broqua and Marche 2010, 7-11), what are the tensions between an author’s desire to be honest and to use memoir writing as a form of militancy?
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https://hal-upec-upem.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01790649
Contributor : Guillaume Marche <>
Submitted on : Sunday, May 13, 2018 - 4:42:00 PM
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Guillaume Marche. Remembrances of Political Things Past : Memoirs of Gay Militancy as Militant Memoirs. Generations of Social Movements. The Left and Historical Memory in the USA and France, 2015. ⟨hal-01790649⟩

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