The Grand Generation: Memory, Mastery, Legacy

Mary Hufford, Author University of Washington Press $0 (127p) ISBN 978-0-295-96610-6
This book is made up of bits and piecesquotes from scholars on the so-called ``grand generation'' and how these elders pass ``the self along'' to the next age group; accounts of individual senior citizens who preserve their memories of the past through folk art; and striking photographs of handiwork by the elderly, ranging from telephone-wire sculptures that depict an artist's youth in Sicily to life-cycle embroideries. At times the text is dry and academic, and there is a tendency to repetitiveness that is surprising in so slim a book (128 pages). There are also some unusual juxtapositions (a quote from Simone de Beauvoir on the ``synthetic vision'' of the elderly appears on the same page as a picture of ``Mrs. T. A. `Mamoo' Lewis with her famed soggy coconut cake''). But like the patchwork quilt that adorns its cover, the volume as a whole is a thing of value and beauty, sewing together these many parts to create a moving and expressive record of the efforts of the older generation ``to transmit their personal histories and accumulated knowledge to others.'' The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service is currently touring a companion show. Hufford and Hunt are folklife specialists at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, respectively, and Zeitlin is coauthor of A Celebration of American Family Folklore. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 127 pages - 978-0-295-96611-3
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