In Stepladder to Hindsight: An Almost Memoir, life writing scholar and memoirist, Richard Freadman, finds himself on the point of retirement from academic life, and looking back. The narrative deals only in passing with the institutional aspects of academic life and ponders how this life found its way to life writing and how life writing in turn helped shaped this life. The book is only loosely chronological and proceeds largely through detailed depiction of key moments and people, sometimes pausing for philosophical reflection on aging, the perils of professional identity, friendship, writing the lives of animals, gender, the structure and texture of what we take to be life-changing ‘choices’, and the part that the discovery of personal limitation, even failure, can play in the formation of personal identity. The volume seeks to circle rather than drive its themes and to express the multifacetedness of personal identity through a variety of range of narrative tones and styles – comic, poignant, realist, meditative, postmodern.
Leading Australian novelist and memoirist, Arnold Zable, writes that Stepladder to Hindsight is ‘an eloquent book, a unique combination of compelling storytelling, searching reflection, with an extraordinary range of mood and style – an original take on the art of life writing’.
In addition to Australian bookshops, Stepladder to Hindsight is now available as follows:
international print edition:
Richard Freadman FAHA
Emeritus Professor of English
La Trobe University
46 Bordeaux Street