This course cannot be repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
This seminar will be devoted to the reading, theories, and writing of memoir, also identified as autobiography, life writing, confession, conversion narrative, coming-of-age stories, and more. The course will focus only on prose writing, but will also encourage forms of experimentalism to include multi-media forms, e.g. the inclusion of visual and audio materials and non-conventional prose forms. We will read a number of memoirs as models and prompts, discuss some central theoretical essays on the memoir genre collected in the class READER, and write and critique passages of memoir generated by participants during the quarter. Only students committed to writing and workshopping their work should take this course. You will be writing analyses, notes, and your own memoir texts for every workshop meeting. You are expected to attend every seminar and make-up seminar, to participate in all activities, to complete the required readings and individual and group assignments, and to write. A major seminar project is a class publication of selected students’ and others’ memoir texts.
Maxine Hong Kingston, "The Woman Warrior," 1976
Tobias Wolfe, "This Boy’s Life," 1989
J.M. Coetze, "Youth," 2002
David Sedaris, "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," 2004