ENGL 306 B1: Life Writing

J. Rak

In this course, we will study works of auto/biography within the field of life writing, which looks at nonfictional texts like memoir, biography or automedia, the representation of the self in film or other media. We will begin with the development of autobiography from its early beginnings in religious confession and move to contemporary developments, including the “new” biography, Indigenous life writing, online life writing, autobiographical film, and more. Issues we explore will include: genre and popular writing; the “culture of confession” and autobiography; Canadian and Indigenous autobiography; the explosion of autobiographical comics; trauma and testimony; and digital life narrative.

Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
David Small, Stitches
Patti Smith, Just Kids
Roxane Gay, Hunger
Maria Campbell, Halfbreed (old editions only!)
Jeannette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Sarah Polley, The Stories We Tell