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Childhood and Youth in Autobiography and Fiction

ENGL 276.601
W 4:30-7:10

The study of literary issues and techniques in works about the growth of an individual toward maturity, from the most private, through the thinly concealed, to fiction. A varied cluster around the Irish experience in the twentieth century includes Sean O'Casey, "I Knock at the Door," James Joyce, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," Roddy Doyle, "Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha," and if the class wishes, Frank McCourt, "Angela's Ashes." Sylvia Plath's "Journal" and her novel, "The Bell Jar," provide a model of transformation from the private to the public. We shall also study a Victorian classic, Edmund Gosse's "Father and Son," and at least one African or African American author.

There will be one short critical paper (4-6 pp.), an occasional quiz, and a final examination. Students will be encouraged to keep a journal for six weeks (which the instructor will neither grade nor read). They may choose for the final written assignment between a long critical paper (10-15 pp.) and a memoir or short story of similar length. Drafts of the paper may be submitted for comment in reasonable time and, if the student wishes, read to the class for discussion.