ENGLISH 335 - Autobiography
Section: 001 American Autobiography and the Challenges of Writing the Self
Term: FA 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

"Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form." - John Berger

"A man's memory is bound to be a distortion of his past in accordance with his present interests, and the most faithful autobiography is likely to mirror less what a man was than what he has become." - Fawn M. Brodie

In the words of a prominent cultural historian, after the social movements of the 1960s, U.S. culture — whose preeminent expressions generally endorsed nationalist ideologies of equal, democratic opportunity — can best be described as "decentered and fragmented." This course will explore one of the most telling literary manifestations of that fragmentation: modes of self-description that foreground a variety of experiences that did not represent the primary subject matter of canonical American autobiography. We will investigate how these experiences — of sexual trauma, of gendered and/or racial marginalization, of depression and its myriad physical and psychological consequences, of physical deformity, of the limitations of gendered, racial, and class constructions, etc. — reflect and/or complicate prevailing notions of (to cite some popular examples) a "postethnic" or "fragmented" national identity.

Course Requirements:

Weekly responses; a short paper (4-6 pages); a longer research essay (10 pages); and active class participation.

Intended Audience:

ENGLISH 335 - Autobiography
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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