This graduate seminar aims to introduce students to one of the most important trends in German literary culture of the last half century, namely the profusion of texts that can be grouped loosely under the designation "life writing." In our survey of this large body of literature, which encompasses such referential genres as autobiographical narrative, biography, the diary, the personal essay, testimony, and other modes of self-expressive or confessional writing, we will concentrate on two objectives. First, we will become conversant in the literary and theoretical discourse on life writing, examining contributions to autobiographical theory from structuralism, poststructuralism, postcolonial theory and gender theory and focusing in particular on issues of authority, referentiality, performativity, positionality, dialogism, genre conventionality, the autobiographical pact, and the shifting boundaries between the autobiographical and the fictional. Second, we will explore the range of German life writing of the last several decades, from the New Subjectivity of the 1970s to the "father literature" of the 1980s, to the boom in post-Holocaust and post-Wende memory texts of the 1990s, to the generational and feminist writing of the 2000s, and to the more recent referential explorations of the self within the context of an increasingly diverse Germany. Primary texts in German; discussion (and some theoretical texts) in English.
Course Attributes: EN H
Section 01Literary Seminar
INSTRUCTOR: McGlothlinView Course Listing