Patricia Hampl: The Art of the Wasted Day

Posted on June 2, 2018 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Patricia Hampl at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hampl spoke of the origins of personal narrative writing. In our own time and place, Hampl reflected, Americans love the personal voice. We trust it against all the evidence that it is unreliable: people lie, plain and simple. Still, we sense an authority in the first person voice because it connects to our experience of the world. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Hampl reminded us that nonfiction personal narrative writing is treacherous. You can get in trouble on all sides. Readers inevitably raise questions of veracity–“Are you telling the truth?”–and of decency–“Does your mom know that?” And of course, as Hampl has written in her book, I Could Tell You Stories, you can hurt those whose stories you tell along the way. But there is an upside to the treachery: nonfiction can have an particular electricity that fiction often does not have.

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:April 24, 2018
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
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