English | Recent Writing
L381 | 26261 | Romayne Dorsey

Romayne Dorsey

11:15a-12:30p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

TOPIC:  “Memoir”

In this course we will read and discuss “life narratives,” an
umbrella term for writing in the realm of memoir, autobiography,
personal essay, portrait pieces, and the like. Through close reading
of essay- and book-length narratives (and occasional supplemental
materials), we will explore the various idiosyncrasies of the genre,
paying particular attention to the interplay of memory and
imagination, artistry and truth, design and meaning, influence and
originality, identity and history, self and story. You will be asked
to write brief, focused responses to each reading, a short paper at
midterm (4-5 pages) and a longer final paper (8-10 pages). Course
writing will include creative and critical work as we explore the
line between these two imperfect categories over the semester.  A
partial list of texts I’m considering include: Anne Carson,
Plaintext; Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories; Vladimir
Nabokov, Speak, Memory; Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of
Awe; John Edgar Wideman, Brothers & Keepers; ; Li-Young Lee, Winged
Seed; Lyn Hejinian, My Life; Rick Bass, Oil Notes; Haven Kimmel, A
Girl Named Zippy; Donald Antrim, The Afterlife; Nancy Mairs,
Plaintext; Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking; Ira Glass,
ed., The New Kings of Nonfiction; Hampl & May (eds), Tell Me True:
Memoir, History, and Writing a Life.