ENGL 159
Other People's Lives: Contemporary American Memoir Fall 2022
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

The goal of this course is to teach you how to write a clear, well-argued, intelligible and interesting analytical paper. We will spend most of our class time actively engaged in a variety of techniques to improve your critical reasoning and analytical skills, both written and oral. Though the skills you learn will be applicable to other disciplines, and a central purpose of the course is to improve all aspects of your writing, this is a literature class, designed partly to prepare you for upper level courses in the English Department, so we will, therefore, spend equal time on the interpretation of literature, in this case, contemporary American memoir, examining the ways in which recent American memoirists represent themselves through prose and the choices they make in shaping their life stories. Given the techniques shared by novelists and memoirists, how firm is the line between fiction and non-fiction? What are the sources of a memoirist’s authority? What are the ethics of memoir-writing? What kind of relationships do memoirists seek with their readers, and how do they go about achieving them?
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1843
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Several short essays, most with drafts and revisions, one student-led class discussion, written comments on published and student work, active participation in discussions.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Preference to First Year students who do not have a 5 on the AP Lit exam or a 6 or 7 on the IB and have not previously taken a 100-level course.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Five papers, of varying lengths, most of which will go through multiple drafts. Extensive time spent in and out of class on every stage of the writing process. Opportunities to meet with professor outside of class at any stage of writing. Revision built into the course assignments. Commenting on published and peer work as a way to further develop one's own editorial eye.
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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