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214Fourth Genre Type A, he asks, "Why can't I get up in the morning and travel calmly through the day without a care in the world—without my temple pounding , without a single moment of self-induced stress?" The reader appreciates Klaus's honest anguish, but now and then may, Uke Kate (Klaus's astute wife) want to advise, "Stop fussing around and get on with your Ufe."Yet it's exactly this vulnerable side of the man, not the venerable, that compels the reader. Once or twice he's so embarrassed by his insensitive actions or over-sensitivity to someone's remarks about the joys of retirement that he admits to considering not mentioning the incidents in the book, but does. He foUows Montaigne's prose model ofsaying what he's reaUy thinking. The diary closes with an account of a weU-planned, month-long trip to the Canadian Rockies he and Kate take in September so that when classes begin he can be far, far away. They drive their Jeep Grand Cherokee and along the route enjoy the amenities ofthe finest hotels and restaurants. With Kate behind the wheel, Klaus practices being a travel writer; but then, on the Rock Mountain Railtour from Jasper to Vancouver, he gives up notetaking in order to fuUy appreciate the sights. For Klaus, the trip provides perspective as weU as geographical distance, and upon return he doesn't rush to his new professor emeritus office to take refuge. At last he is ready to Uve without leaning too heavfly on the old role and persona ofProfessor Klaus. Few Uterary books have been written about the psychological adjustments of retirement. Klaus mentions Carolyn Heflbrun's The Last Gift ofTime and Doris Grumbach's Coming into the End Zone, both memoirs by former university professors. The women delve into issues ofaging far more than Klaus does, whereas his diary is primarfly concerned with immediate pre-retirement . StiU, aU three books seem related, and not just by their authors' relationships to academe, but because, as the ranks ofthe retired sweU, they open discourse on an important stage in our Uves. Klaus's diary is a unique and valuable contribution to this effort and to the genre of nonfiction. Reviewed by Carol Sanford I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory by Patricia Hampl WW Norton & Company, 1999 192 pages, cloth, $23.00 Readers who've accompanied Hampl in her previous memoirs—A Romantic Education (1981) and Virgin Time (1993)—from St. Paul to Prague to Italy, wfll Book Reviews215 find that in I CouldTellYou Stories, Hampl traverses the landscape ofthe mind: memory and imagination. But this coUection of essays is as captivating and peUucid as Hampl's memoirs because her "sojourns in the land ofmemory" are at once critical and personal. She is firmly present in each essay via flashbacks and vignettes of her own experiences. This intimate approach to the form will appeal to readers who might otherwise detour around critical essays. FoUowing an exploration of her own fascination with memory, Hampl examines the autobiographical writings of such luminaries as Czeslaw Milosz, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank and St. Augustine. By carefuUy analyzing each writer's presentation ofhis or her selfand life in poetry, prose,journals, letters, and memoirs, Hampl iUuminates the process by which memory is transformed into memoir, and locates the genre's unique value and place in our Uterary and cultural fabric. Though some of these essays were published as early as 1981 and span the last two decades, they are remarkably unified. For example, in "Czeslaw Milosz and Memory," originaUy published in 1981 then revised since the post-Communist revolution in Eastern Europe, Hampl explores how Milosz's memoir transcends the individual psyche in the service of sociopoUtical record and commentary. Milosz, Hampl writes, has "located the best grace of memoir: a method which allows the self to function not as a source or a subject, but as an instrument for rendering the world." By comparison, American memoir privfleges the individual, Hampl notes weU ahead ofthe recent burgeoning ofthis trend: "ForAmericans, except for those who write memoir out ofspecific historical experience (PhUip Caputo writing about the Vietnam...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1544-1733
Print ISSN
1522-3868
Pages
pp. 214-216
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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