"novel" again

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Sep 7 15:20:51 UTC 2007

True, Joel, but the point is that Kovic's book *isn't a novel.*

  By sheer and almost unbelievable coincidence, a few minutes after posting that atrocity I discovered an example of "memoir" used to mean "a book-length fiction set in a past time about which the author has some personal knowledge."  Skeptical? Try this:

2003 Karen Krizanovich, in Steven Jay Schneider, ed. _1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die_ (N.Y.: Barron's) 675: Lothar-Gunther Buchheim [is] the war correspondent upon whose bestselling 1973 memoirs the script for _Das Boot_ was based.

  Krizanovich reviews films for various British publications, including _Cosmopolitan UK_.

  BTW, why you must see all these movies before you die is never fully explained.

"Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
Subject: Re: "novel" again

At 9/6/2007 08:40 PM, Jon L. wrote:
>How can I resist?
> 2003 Mark Taylor _The Vietnam War in History, Literature and
> Film_ (Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama Press) 140: Ron Kovic's
> autobiographical novel _Born on the Fourth of July_ [was] published in 1976.
> Kovic's very well-known book is what used to be called a
> "memoir." Taylor - Lecturer in American Studies at the University
> of Hull - doesn't claim that any of it is invented.

Although I too cringe at calling an autobiography a novel, I take
"autobiographical" as a looser "based on a life". And the OED has,
at least for "autobiographic", "1. Of the nature of autobiography",
with one quote being:

1870 Lowell Among my Bks. Ser. ii. (1873) 26 The writings of
Dante..are all..autobiographic.

Surely Dante was not Orpheus -- and the OED's second ellipsis omits
an interesting qualification:

"The first remark to be made upon the writings of Dante is that they
are all (with the possible exception of the treatise De Vulgari
Eloquio) autobiographic"

This is from Google Books -- and for something entirely different,
eagerly await a forthcoming publication ...


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Be a better Heartthrob. Get better relationship answers from someone who knows.
Yahoo! Answers - Check it out.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list