Studies in French Autobiography

This autobiography course is designed for advanced students/majors in French, preferably, but not necessarily, who are engaged with contemporary literary studies. We will examine issues related to a literary genre and its manifold transformations in late 20th century, starting with the construction of the self. What are the interconnections between narrative voice, literary form, and subjectivity, for instance? Does autobiography fit in some happy realism (claiming to represent facts)? Is it an exercise in reshaping cultural imagination (French, bourgeois, gendered, social memory, etc.)? Is the impulse to self-narration universal? How does time inform narrative, or is it the other way round? We’ll also seek to examine what the impact of the theoretical discourse has been on writing autobiography.

Required readings:
Patrick Besson. Tour Jade (2003)
Marguerite Duras. L’Amant (1984
Marie Nimier. La Reine du silence (2004)
George Perec. W. ou le souvenir d’enfance (1975)

One of FREN 320, FREN 321, FREN 328, FREN 329, FREN 330.

Language of instruction: French

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