Amish Conference 2016 - Continuity and Change

Aktivität: Wissenschaftliche und künstlerische VeranstaltungenKonferenzenForschung

Sabrina Völz - Sprecher*in

Balancing Art with Factuality: Saloma Miller Furlong’s Ex-Amish Serial Memoirs Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir and Bonnet Strings

In recent years, the memoir boom has left publishers searching far and wide for new material. As part of this trend and the immense demand for anything Amish, non-professional writers have seized the opportunity to give voices to groups of individuals who have previously not received much attention from scholars, journalists, and the media. Mary Ann Kirby’s I Am Hutterite appeared in 2010, and 2011 saw the publication of Saloma Miller Furlong’s Why I Left the Amish and Ira Wagler’s Growing Up Amish. The success of these three memoirs have paved the way for an outpouring of further life narratives by ex-members of Plain People groups. 
After briefly discussing memoir theory and the genre of the ex-Amish memoir, I will introduce Saloma Miller Furlong’s serial memoirs Why I Left the Amish (2011) and Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds (2014). Next, I will analyze Furlong’s modes of self-representation presented in her books. Furlong poignantly ‘writes back’ and speaks for the tolerated but not accepted Amish family, the sexually abused Amish teen, the ‘wayward’ Amish runaway, and the ex-Amish memoirist. Yet mixing cultural information with subjectivity, evidence with art as well as ethics with agency is a difficult task which Furlong only partially masters in the first installment of her serial memoir, Why I Left the Amish. In Bonnet Strings, Furlong attains more distance to her subject matter and pens a more balanced memoir.
Amish Conference 2016 - Continuity and Change


Amish Conference 2016 - Continuity and Change: 50 Years of Amish Society


Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA / Vereinigte Staaten

Veranstaltung: Konferenz