The University of Wisconsin Press

Autobiography / American Studies / Literary Criticism


My Generation
Collective Autobiography and Identity Politics
John Downton Hazlett

Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography
William L. Andrews, Series Editor

"A superb book—well conceived, thoroughly researched, theoretically informed, balanced in its judgments, and gracefully written."
—Milton Bates, professor of English, Marquette University

"My Generation offers exceptionally perceptive readings of autobiographical works by veterans of the 1960s culture wars, from the 'annunciatory narrative' of the Port Huron Statement to the self-consciously elegiac reflections of such Movement veterans as Tom Hayden and Todd Gitlin. In the process, John Hazlett convincingly argues that these works constitute a new autobiographical genre intent upon illuminating the collective experience of an entire generation. My Generation deepens our understanding of the sixties and its long aftermath."
—Paul Boyer, Merle Curti Professor of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison

John Hazlett's engaging and insightful study of writers from the 1960s demonstrates for the first time the ways in which the idea of the generation has affected autobiographical writing in this century. Exchanging "I" for "we," autobiographers from the sixties claim to speak on behalf of all members of their generation. However, the extent to which each perspective accurately represents that generation's beliefs, values, and goals will continually be contested by competing texts and narratives.

Writers whose work is addressed in My Generation include Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Michael Rossman, Dotson Rader, Raymond Mungo, Jane Alpert, John Bunzel, Peter Collier, David Horowitz, Joyce Maynard, David Harris, and Todd Gitlin.

As Hazlett discovered, the stories these writers present are not simply straightforward accounts; instead, each is constructed with a specific political and personal agenda in an effort to define the generation's identity and the writer's own.

John Downton Hazlett is associate professor of English at the University of New Orleans. He taught as a Fulbright Lecturer at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and was visiting professor at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. He has published essays on American literature and autobiography, book reviews, theater reviews, and articles on American film.

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  cover of My Generation is a photo of a shirtless man wearing a cowboy hat with his arms outstretched against of a background of red and white vertical stripes.

July 1998
280 pp
.   6 x 9

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Paper $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-15784-5
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The cloth edition, ISBN 978-0-299-15780-7, is out of print.


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