Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl is the author of two highly acclaimed memoirs, A Romantic Education, and Virgin Time. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and three of her previous books have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Ms. Hampl lives in St. Paul, where she is Regents' Professor at the University of Minnesota.

I Could Tell You Stories
Sojourns in the Land of Memory

by Patricia Hampl

Memoir, that landscape bordered by memory and imagination, has become the signature genre of our age. In I COULD TELL YOU STORIES: SOJOURNS IN THE LAND OF MEMORY, Patricia Hampl moves back and forth between a series of story-like recollections and essays in which she considers how she has been "enchanted or bedeviled" by autobiographical writing-her own and that of others.

Subjects engaging Hampl's attention are her family's response to her personal writing; a secret that an old Czech émigré tries to confide in her; reflections on reading Whitman during the Vietnam War; the ethics of writing about family and friends, and an early experience reviewing Sylvia Plath. "A writer is first and last a reader," she says, and makes it clear that, for her, reading is a passion not a pastime.
The word that unites the impulse within all the pieces is "Remember!"-a command that can be startling. For to remember is to make a pledge: to the indelible experience of personal perception and to history itself.

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