Writing the Self: Autobiography and Argument

English 249-01, Spring 2002

Writing the story of one's own life is one of the oldest uses of language. Despite its links to the past, autobiography also seems somehow contemporary in its scope. This semester we'll explore the links between autobiographical and argumentative writing. What similarities exist between writing an argumentative essay in a class such as this one and writing an autobiography? What can these similarities teach us about writing, about ourselves as writers, and about ourselves as selves? We'll probe these questions by reading autobiographies from a broad historical perspective. We'll also read some works of criticism to help frame our understanding of autobiography as a form of writing. Throughout the semester our focus will be toward using what we read to inform what we write.

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These pages last updated April 24, 2002