Life Stories: Literature and Personhood

Course offered in Spring 2019

LIT 390S-03 “Life Stories: Literature & Personhood” (Cross-listed with English, German, ICS, Romance Studies)

An exploration of life stories in literary & interdisciplinary contexts. How do exemplary stories – stories about single lives – shape the understanding of character & personhood? What is the goal of authors who write factual “case histories” or fictional variants of them? How should readers approach such stories, particularly when implicated in the narration of social categories like gender & race? What ethical or moral considerations may hang in the balance for these stories’ subjects?

Seminar focuses on how individual/group identities are constructed by literature from an international perspective. Investigation of where fiction may overlap with medical & legal writing. Readings from: Conan Doyle, Kleist, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Tolstoy, Foster Wallace. Attention to theoretical work by Cixous, Fanon, Freud, Foucault, Mannoni, Spivak.


Related people