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The Redemptive Imagination
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Interactive Timeline, 1876 - 1999 interview Transcript Webography

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Program 26: The Redemptive Imagination/Story, Memory and Identity

Donald L. Miller with Esmeralda Santiago, Arthur Golden, Charles Johnson, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Introduction

Miller: In A Biography of America, we've tried to bring to life some of the defining moments of American history using the medium of storytelling. At the root of all history are memories, memories that have been woven into stories. Today, we turn to four storytellers who have drawn on the past to create works of power and truthfulness. Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican...

Santiago: How did I end up here? Here I am in this, Katona, New York; and I started out in Macoum, Puerto Rico. How did that happen?

Miller: The Boston Globe called her one of the most powerful new voices in American fiction. Arthur Golden, author of the acclaimed national best-seller, Memoirs of a Geisha...

Golden: Things don't always narrow down to a sort of pencil point of truth. It's kind of messy...

Miller: Charles Johnson, author of Middle Passage, winner of the National Book Award for fiction...

Johnson: ...I used to ask my mother, "Well what about your grandmother, or my father? What about your great-uncle?"

Miller: And Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of Slaughterhouse Five, and a dozen other memorable novels.

Vonnegut: It is the past, not the future, which scares the heck out of me...

Miller: Today on A Biography of America, memories, storytelling, and history.



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