Judith Barrington



Average rating: 3.99 · 787 ratings · 90 reviews · 19 distinct worksSimilar authors
Writing the Memoir

4.02 avg rating — 625 ratings — published 1996 — 4 editions
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Lifesaving: A Memoir

3.79 avg rating — 75 ratings — published 2000 — 2 editions
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An Intimate Wilderness: Les...

4.90 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 1991 — 2 editions
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Horses and the Human Soul

4.56 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 2004
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Lost Lands: Poems (Robin Be...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2008
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Trying to Be an Honest Woman

2.80 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 1985
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History and Geography

2.75 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 1989 — 2 editions
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Postcard from the Bottom of...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 2008
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Erinnerungen und Autobiogra...

liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Long Love: New and Selected...

liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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More books by Judith Barrington…
“A word of warning here. The events as you remember them will never be the same in your memory once you have turned them into a memoir. For years I have worried that if I turn all of my life into literature, I won't have any real life left - just stories about it. And it is a realistic concern: it does happen like that. I am no longer sure I remember how it felt to be twenty and living in Spain after my parents died; my book about it stands now between me and my memories. When I try to think about that time, what comes to mind most readily is what I wrote.”
Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir

“If you want help in starting to write memoirs, you don't want to fall into the clutches of a famous writer who has been hired to teach at a writing workshop solely because of his name's ability to attract students, rather than because of any teaching skill. You should not have to grapple with someone who secretly thinks you should be writing about his life rather than your own.”
Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir

“One last characteristic of the memoir that is important to recognize is one which also applies to essays, and which Georg Lukacs described as "the process of judging." This may seem problematic to some, since...we connect it with 'judgmental,' often used nowadays as a derogatory word. But the kind of judgment necessary to the good personal essay, or to the memoir, is not that nasty tendency to oversimplify and dismiss other people out of hand but rather the willingness to form and express complex opinions, both positive and negative.

If the charm of memoir is that we, the readers, see the author struggling to understand her past, then we must also see the author trying out opinions she may later shoot down, only to try out others as she takes a position about the meaning of her story. The memoirist need not necessarily know what she thinks about her subject but she must be trying to find out; she may never arrive at a definitive verdict, but she must be willing to share her intellectual and emotional quest for answers. Without this attempt to make a judgment, the voice lacks interest, the stories, becalmed in the doldrums of neutrality, become neither fiction nor memoir, and the reader loses respect for the writer who claims the privilege of being the hero in her own story without meeting her responsibility to pursue meaning. Self revelation without analysis or understanding becomes merely an embarrassment to both reader and writer.”
Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir



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