Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19
What is at stake in writing autobiographical texts? What are the forms writers have used to write themselves? Is autobiography simply, as Oscar Wilde states, the lowest form of criticism? Looking at a range of texts from the Medieval period to the present, with a special focus on women’s writing, this course examines the formal, ethical, political, and aesthetic choices writers make when writing themselves.
|Second Sub Session
|30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Life writing lies between literature and history; it often challenges the distinction between fact and fiction. It can be a form of political subversion, or a form of private reflection. This course explores a wide range of life writing, from the Medieval period to the present, in order to look at the formal, ethical, political, and aesthetic choices writers make when writing themselves. The course particularly focuses on women’s life writing; incorporating a variety of material from diaries and poems to essays and experimental fiction, it showcases both the challenges and rewards of this most private, most public form of expression. Selected authors may include Margery Kempe, Frederick Douglass, Virginia Woolf, and Alison Bechdel.
Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.
Oral feedback provided.
Students may opt to produce a piece of life-writing with critical commentary in place of either i) the 2000-word mid-term critical essay (800-word critical commentary, 2000-word total, 35%) or ii) the 3000-word end-of-course essay (1000-word critical commentary, 3000-word total, 45%).
The critical commentary should discuss how the production of your own piece of life-writing contributes to your understanding of theories and practices of life-writing explored within the course. This assessment will be marked as a piece of practice-led research, rather than as a piece of creative writing, with attention to how life-writing and commentary function together to show evidence of insight into the issues explored on the course, and of relevant reading.
There are no assessments for this course.
|Students will demonstrate understanding of autobiographical texts from multiple periods, and their relation to historical and social contexts.
|Students will understand the difference between multiple forms of life writing and the relevant theories used to discuss them.
|In written and oral forms, students will produce analyses of chosen texts demonstrating an awareness of the ways gender, class, and race impact the creation of autobiographical texts.
|In written and oral forms, students will demonstrate the ability to apply theories of life-writing to chosen texts.