Arthur P Jacobs: Purpose and Audience – Writing Lives

Arthur P Jacobs: Purpose and Audience

In Arthur’s memoir, he very much speaks for himself in a very personal way. His memoir is almost a chain of memories that make up his life, rather than being a voice for many. Arthur had a very privileged upbringing, and his unusually settled life without hardship, shown in his idealic memories as a child, could mean political movements going on at the time did not affect him. He says this by saying the, ‘proceedings of his work has been simplicity itself’, and the memories he has of his life very much reflect that.

Arthur addresses his readers, saying if they are looking for, ‘an album of anotomical, sectional blow-ups’ and ‘positive partly turned negative’ stories, his memoir should be, ‘crossed off your library list’. However, if we are looking for ‘truth, affection, sentiment and humour’, we will enjoy his story. The descriptive words Arthur uses to describe his memoir reflect this light-hearted account of his life. Readers of Arthur’s memoir are simply taken on a journey of his life. His memoir includes many happy childhood memories, his career, and meeting his wife.

Children playing in Hamstead Heath, Arthurs home
Children playing in Hampstead Heath, Arthur’s home


However he does bring a political voice to some movements of the 1900’s, one of which being the Suffragette movement. This crucial part of history should draw many readers in who want to learn more about the Suffragettes, especially from the interesting point as a child. He speaks about how they ‘worried’ him, even though when he looks back now, he sees they did not intend to do that. He also states whatever trouble was in the world, ‘the suffragettes must be behind it’. Even though it does hold a certain political voice, the way Arthur tells it is still almost in a child’s perspective and even holds certain humorous elements.

The honesty of Arthur’s work shows to me he did not miss anything out, and avoids hiding anything from the reader. I feel this is partially because, as a privileged child, nothing traumatic or controversial seemed to happen to him. His childhood was stable, and he was allowed to grow up as a child should. I feel his memoir is full of ‘sentiment’, and is written to merely be an enjoyable read for anyone who picks it up.

Arthur’s memoir is a very simple read, one which you would do with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon. In no way is it heavy, or an account of political voice. I feel it is very directed to an older audience, one who could relate to Arthur’s experiences growing up. Even though i cannot personally relate to much, it still takes me back to the simple days of my childhood, which is obviously a relation many can and like to make.


Bibliography -Simkin, J., 1997. Spartacus Educational. [Online]

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