English 172

Literature and Psychology: Literatures of the Self

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 Zeavin, Hannah
MW 9-10:30 300 Wheeler

Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy; Hejinian, Lynn: My Life

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be in a course reader.


In this course, we will survey literatures of the self and their history from antiquity to the present. We will attend to the writing of the self in its many genres and forms: the diary, the autobiography, the poem, the novel, the memoir, the case study, the graphic novel, and digital self-presentation. Auto-writings negotiate a paradox: a subjective engagement with subjective fact that often aspires to a nearly scientific objectivity; sometimes they task themselves with the opposite: undoing or revising a scientific or political consensus. We will think about these literatures as means of self-preservation, self-knowing, self-tracking, diagnosis, an accounting for a self, as a site of counter-history, and as a tool for (re)enfranchisement. Authors include Augustine, Kempe, Pepys, Rousseau, Whitman, Douglass, Freud, Stein, Woolf, Hejinian, Anzaldúa, Bechdel, and Nelson.

This class was added to the spring '19 lineup of English Department courses on October 17.

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