Back to ACLAnet Syllabi & Documents & Documents 

Spiritual Autobiography

Comparative Literature
Spring Semester 1998

Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor
229B Mc Micken Hall
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati
ML 210069
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
Office # (513) 556-0834
Fax # (513) 556-5960
jana.braziel@uc.edu
evans_braziel@hotmail.com

Course Description:

The course will probe a cross-linguistic and cross-cultural study of four individual writers (two mid-century and French, two contemporary and Anglophone), looking at how these writers explore both autobiography and cultural, political marginalization: Jean Genet (French) and Marguerite Duras (French, from the former colony French-Vietkong) during the post-war and decolonization period, as well as later; and the contemporary writers, Ben Okri (Nigerian) and Jamaica Kincaid (African-Caribbean, now living in the United States), within a postcolonial historical context.

The course emphasis will be on "repetition and difference" in autobiographical writing; exploring representations of the self through writing, re-writing, repeating and altering literary representations of the self and the family or society. Through these autobiographicalóand in some cases, auto-fictionalówritings, we will interrogate the constructions of the genre autobiography, the subjective category the self, and the term spiritual. The following questions are germane to this critical interrogation: How are these three terms defined? What constitutes autobiography? What composes a self, and is this category a fixed, stable, coherent, and unified one? What is meant by the word spiritual? How does one differentiate the spiritual from the social, the sexual, the material, the political, the historical, the intellectual, and even the banal?

Required Texts:

Books:

All books are available at Atticus Albion Bookstore, Amherst.

Other Texts:

Course Requirements: 

Course Policies: 

Course Schedule:

January

29
Introduction to Course: review of syllabus and course objectives; explorations of terms germane to thecourse: spiritual; autobiography; colonialism; decolonization; postcolonialism; subjectivity; and representation.

February

3-5
Introduction to Course: review of syllabus and course objectives; explorations of terms germane to the course: spiritual; autobiography; colonialism; decolonization; postcolonialism; subjectivity; andrepresentation.

Marguerite Duras, The Sea-Wall (1949)

Secondary Source:

10-12
Marguerite Duras, The Lover (1984)

Secondary Sources:

17-19
Marguerite Duras, The North China Lover (1986)

24-26
Jean Genet, The Thief'sJournal (1948-1949) and selections from The complete Poems of Jean Genet

Secondary Sources:

March

3-5
Thief's Journal; Selections from Sartre's Saint Genett

Secondary Sources:

10-12
Jean Genet, The Prisoner's Notebook (1983-1986)

Secondary Sources:

14-23
SPRING BREAK

24-26
Ben Okri, Stars of the New Curfew (1988)

Secondary Sources:

31-4/2
Ben Okri, The Famished Road (1991)

 

Secondary Sources:

April

7-9
Famished Road

14-16
Famished Road

21-23
Jamaica Kincaid, At the Bottom of the River (1978, 1984)

Secondary Source:

28-30
Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John (1983)

Secondary Sources:

May

5-7
Jamaica Kincaid, Autobiography of My Mother (1996)

12-14
Autobiography of My Mother

Related Films & Videos:

Syllabus-Related Materials:

Back to ACLAnet Syllabi & Documents & Documents

Home


About ACLAnet - Syllabi and Documents - Syllabus Related Materials - Pedagogical Theory and Practice
Participant List/Profiles - Additional Resources - Suggest New Links - Submit Material - Search ACLAnet