Autiography and Fiction: Literary Uses of the Self
A two-part course, combining the literary study and practice of autobiographical and imaginative uses of the self, from the most explicit (the journal) to the most removed. The class will discuss the readings in social and historical context and as models of the scope, techniques, and resources of the forms. The chief authors and their works are James Boswell, London Journal, and representative sections of the Life of Johnson, the biography in which he includes himself; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Art is as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse and Moments of Being; and at least one contemporary work to be selected by the class (Kazuo Ishigure, The Remains of the Day?). There will be brief oral reports, a midterm examination, and 2 short critical papers (4-5 pp) on the readings; one of the papers will be based on the oral report. For the first 6 weeks of the course, the student wil also keep a journal, the source of the third written assignment; a short story, a chapter of an autobiography of biography; one-act play; long poem, or any other
literary work (except a poem) approximating 10-12 pages. The focus throughout the course will be on the means by which personal experience is made art. The instructor will require physical evidence of the journal but neither read nor grade it.