Who Am I?: An Autobiography of Emotion, Mind, and Spirit (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)

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9780299166649: Who Am I?: An Autobiography of Emotion, Mind, and Spirit (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)
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Who Am I? is the bittersweet memoir of a Chinese American who came to this country as a twenty-year-old graduate student and stayed to become one of America's most innovative intellectuals.

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Who Am I? is the bittersweet memoir of a Chinese American who came to this country as a twenty-year-old graduate student and stayed to become one of America's most innovative intellectuals, whose work has explored the aesthetic and moral dimensions of human relations with landscape, nature, and environment. This unusually introspective autobiography mixes Yi-Fu Tuan's reflections on a life filled with recognition, accolades, and even affection -- all signs of success -- with a deep sense of personal failure.

The son of a prominent Chinese diplomat, Tuan moved from a cosmopolitan childhood to a relatively quiet life as an academic in the United States, where his books on topics as diverse as the cultural role of pets and the moral implications of urban design have met with international scholarly and public acclaim. Yet, Tuan finds his life increasingly marked by detachment and isolation. In Who Am I?, he probes what he sees as his moral failings, his lack of courage -- including the courage to be open about his homosexuality -- resulting, as he writes, "in a life that is seamed in ambivalence -- achingly empty at the core, despairingly alone, yet often content, occasionally even happy, " as when he catches glimpses of heaven in his exploration of the beautiful and the good.

About the Author:

Yi-Fu Tuan is author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including Human Goodness, The Good Life, Space and Place, Topophilia, and Coming Home to China. Tuan is the J. K. Wright and Vilas Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been honored with the Cullum Medal of the American Geographical Society, the Laureat d'Honneur of the International Geographical Union, and the Charles Homer Haskins Lectureship of the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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