20 Pages


WithLinda E. Chown

Literarily, more than in any other books of their writing to date, Memoirs and The Back Room display their authors’ evolving ability to enter into narrative homeostasis, which emerges in large part in the new, more-immediate-than-psychological mentality the authors deem essential. The erosion in Memoirs of those divisions separating inner from outer, personal from general, certifies psychal recognition of their arbitrariness and joy at getting beyond them into the person of the woman behind the wall. Summer and Retahilas reveal two authors who maintain a wedge-distance between protagonist, potential persona and themselves; this overdetermining limits the scope of authentic moral recognition. Persona experience themselves as morally alone, but no longer terrified of that condition. Both for the author and her persona, inner life comes to provide strength and surcease. This inner offers, however, no sickly private dimension, smelling of sickrooms and precious retreat.