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Audre Lorde’s Zami and the Mythography of Memoir (The One Series)

ENGL 4514.301
MW 12:00-1:29pm

In 1982, Audre Lorde, one of the most significant and influential Black feminist writers of the 20th century, released what she coined a “biomythography”: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Combining elements of history, biography, and myth, Lorde recounts her journey of self-discovery as a Black lesbian in her childhood and young adult years. Departing from the traditions of the coming-out story, Lorde raises questions about the blurry lines between telling the story of one’s life and inventing that story, between autobiography and autobiographical fiction. This class will be an opportunity to read slowly and closely Lorde’s Zami as a central text, but to help in our understanding, we will also read some of Lorde’s poetry and prose, some radical feminist and queer writing by her and others, and some theories of memoir and life writing. Assignments will include brief research exercises and short writing in various forms. For the final project, students will have the choice of a critical essay or creative project that crafts this genre to accommodate the story of our lives. 

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes