Memory and Narrative: The Literature of Memory


Memoir is rooted in autobiographical fact, but it is also art. It selects, arranges, and sometimes exaggerates, retouches, or mythologizes its materials in order to bring out a deeper truth, define an identity, establish a public image, deal with trauma, or simply tell a better story. Writing about one's life is not only the next best thing to reliving it, as Benjamin Franklin said, it may also be an improvement upon it in the satisfaction it gives in bringing chaos to order. The course will explore the activity of writing the past in memoirs and in autobiographical fiction Readings will likely include works by Mary McCarthy ("Memories of a Catholic Girlhood"), John Updike ("Self-Consciousness" and short stories), Alice Munro (memoirs and stories), Virginia Woolf ("Moments of Being"), Kay Redfield Jamison ("An Unquiet Mind"), and Henry Louis Gates ("Colored People"). Students will write and revise two autobiographical essays and one critical paper. Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; AS WI I; FA HUM; AR HUM; EL TC

Section 01

Memory and Narrative: The Literature of Memory
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