GERM-580 Autobiographical Fiction--Fictional Autobiography
Fall for 2017-2018
This reading-intensive graduate seminar explores a pervasive trend in contemporary literature: the blurring of the distinction between fictional and autobiographical texts. The course explores how, in the narration of individual life stories or of family histories, authors rely on memory, the imagination, and literary devices – and how they reference and play with genre conventions.
To provide an introduction to the history of the genre, the course will begin with excerpts from the most prominent autobiography in German literary history – Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit -- and with an example of an early parody of this seminal text (Jean Paul Richter’s Selbsterlebensbeschreibung).
Students will also be introduced to contemporary literary criticism and literary theory pertinent to the discussion of autobiographical fiction. Issues that we will address include: authorship & the subject, gender & genre, history & memory, and, of course, fact & fiction.
Finally, we will consider the changing approaches to autobiographical writings in the context of dominant trends in literary theory and in literary studies.
Other academic years
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