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Theory and Practice

ENG 402 - Theory and Practice of Autobiography One might argue that the autobiography is considered the least"literary" of all of the literary genres. This may be due to itsenduring popularity, or the fact that, as authors Sidonie Smithand Julia Watson point out in the opening to ReadingAutobiography, its premise is deceptively simple: "The act ofpeople representing what they know best: their own lives" (1).At the same time, scholar Georges Gusdorf described the genre as"the highest achievement of individuality in westerncivilization." The first full-length autobiography was St. Augustine of Hippo'sConfessions, written in 398 AD. Since that time, the genre hasinspired the novel, experienced great popularity, enduredscandal, and expanded into a number of subgenres (thepresidential autobiography, the graphic memoir, and theecobiography, to name a few.) The "memoir boom" of the mid-1990sbrought about a resurgence in the genre and new questions aboutthe distinctions between autobiography and memoir, the essay, andother forms of what is now called "life writing" as well asconcerns about the role of truth in autobiographical narrative. The focus in the theory and practice course is on gaining a morecomprehensive understanding of a specific genre that will informyour own writing in that genre (consider it "literary theory forwriters") To that end, you will examine several theories ofautobiography or "life" writing and craft your own shortautobiographical pieces.

Section: ENG-402-01
Credits: 4
Faculty: Kirsti A Sandy
Days: M
Times: 6:00PM‑9:30PM (M)
Start/End Date: 01/21/20 - 05/08/20
Instruction Method: Lecture-based Learning
Comments: ENG 402 - Theory and Practice of Autobiography One might argue that the autobiography is considered the least"literary" of all of the literary genres. This may be due to itsenduring popularity, or the fact that, as authors Sidonie Smithand Julia Watson point out in the opening to ReadingAutobiography, its premise is deceptively simple: "The act ofpeople representing what they know best: their own lives" (1).At the same time, scholar Georges Gusdorf described the genre as"the highest achievement of individuality in westerncivilization." The first full-length autobiography was St. Augustine of Hippo'sConfessions, written in 398 AD. Since that time, the genre hasinspired the novel, experienced great popularity, enduredscandal, and expanded into a number of subgenres (thepresidential autobiography, the graphic memoir, and theecobiography, to name a few.) The "memoir boom" of the mid-1990sbrought about a resurgence in the genre and new questions aboutthe distinctions between autobiography and memoir, the essay, andother forms of what is now called "life writing" as well asconcerns about the role of truth in autobiographical narrative. The focus in the theory and practice course is on gaining a morecomprehensive understanding of a specific genre that will informyour own writing in that genre (consider it "literary theory forwriters") To that end, you will examine several theories ofautobiography or "life" writing and craft your own shortautobiographical pieces.

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