Spring 2016-2017


Deborah L. Nelson

Autobiography is a genre course that takes up first the “retrospective prose narrative,” the most familiar form of autobiographical writing, and then moves on to various kinds of life writing from diaries/journals to internet forms and the personal essay.  The writers we will focus on are Augustine and Benjamin Franklin for the classic models of retrospective prose narrative; Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Andy Warhol’s The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again for an investigation of relational autobiography; the Diary of Alice James and Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals; Theresa Cha’s Dictee and Lynn Hejinian’s My Life;  Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia.  We will conclude with student selections of internet autobiography and the personal essay.  The course is research intensive with weekly collaborative projects. (20th/21st)