Multi-Ethnic American Autobiography: Stories of the Self in Society|
From the journals of Christopher Columbus to the latest best-seller list, first-person narratives have been at the center of literature written in the Americas. This seminar asks why the form of autobiography has been so important to the literary history of the United States. Why do so many authors--from escaped slaves to chroniclers of the most privileged members of society--choose to represent themselves, or a fictive self in the first-person? What is it about the imagined "I" that so attracts readers? In broader terms, what does the prevalence of autobiography say about the culture--and the racial and ethnic politics--of the United States at different moments in history?
Perhaps because autobiography presents a form apparently available to everyone--it crosses many divisions of race, gender, and class. Our readings will provide a way into both these difficult issues and into a number of important aspects of American literature. Our readings will include tales of captivity, slave narratives, and the autobiographies of two major African American writers (Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright). We will also study works that challenge conventional conceptions of the genre, including a first-person novel, THE GREAT GATSBY, an "autobiography" written by another person (Stein's ALICE B. TOKLAS), and several works from the 1980s that cross boundaries of genre, language, and gender (BORDERLANDS, DICTEE, and THE NEW WORLD BORDER). We will conclude by looking at one of the most successful forms of postmodern autobiography: graphic memoirs that combine word and image to represent the self in entirely new forms.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
||Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available
|Major Readings: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore
Andrew L. Williams, ed. CLASSIC AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY
Gertrude Stein, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS
Zora Neale Hurston, DUST TRACKS ON THE ROAD
Richard Wright, BLACK BOY/AMERICAN HUNGER
Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung, DICTEE
Art Spiegelman, MAUS
Gloria Anzald˙a, BORDERLANDS/LA FRONTIERA
Art Speigelman, MAUS
Lynda Barry, ONE HUNDRED DEMONS
Alison Bechdel, FUN HOME: A FAMILY TRAGICOMEDY
Belle Yang, FORGET SORROW: AN ANCESTRAL TALE
|Examinations and Assignments: |
1 essay, 3-4 pages in the form of an autobiography or a first-person fictional narrative;
1 analytical essay, 3-4 pages; 1 final project designed in consultation with the instructor; weekly presentations and reading responses.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This seminar has an English Department Research Option, fulfills the English Department's Literatures of Difference requirement, and helps fulfill the English Department's Race and Ethnicity Concentration, American Literature Concentration, and Theory and Literary Forms Concentration.
|Instructor(s): Baraw,Charles Times: .MTWRF. 03:30PM-05:10PM; Location: CRT285; |
|Total Enrollment Limit: 19||SR major: 4||JR major: 4|| || |
|Seats Available: 16||GRAD: 0||SR non-major: 3||JR non-major: 3||SO: 3||FR: 2|
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