• Rhetoric of Autobiography – Epistemologies of the “I”

    129 001 | CCN: 32944

    Epistemologies of the "I"

    Instructor: Michael Mascuch

    Location: Dwinelle 229

    Date / Time: Tu/Th 12:30pm - 1:59pm

    4 Units

    Rhet 30 image

    What is autobiography and how are we all able to create one, regardless of formal training in either narrative discourse or the discourse of the self? Is it human nature to have an autobiography? How do we tell a real one from a fake? We’ll ask these questions, and more, studying autobiography as rhetorical activity that takes many forms. We will read some classics, some new classics, and some cult classics.

    Learning goals: 1. Knowledge of the history and theory of autobiography as a cultural discourse. 2. Knowledge of eight canonical texts of written autobiography. 3. Practice in literary analysis and critique using narratological analytical concepts. 4. Practice in advanced written argumentation using primary literary source materials.

    Primary readings:
    St. Augustine, Confessions, tr. Chadwick (Oxford World’s Classics)
    Michel de Montaigne, Essays, tr. Cohen (Penguin)
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions, tr. Cohen (Penguin)
    Frederick Douglass, Narrative, Blight, ed. (Bedford—3rd edition, 2017)
    Roland Barthes, Roland Barthes, tr. Howard (Hill and Wang)
    Joe Brainard, I Remember (Granary)
    Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Mariner)
    Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf)