Life writing: autobiography, biography, memoirs, diaries, and letters
Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)Module:
Course code: 80
Contact hours: lectures 30 hours, seminar 30 hours, consultation 30 hours
Course type: elective
Teaching and learning methods: lectures, seminar
Objectives and competences
Students are familiarized with the modern terminology used in life narratives and with the phenomenology of genres, and understand the distinctions between them. They are introduced to modern life writing theory and the new relationship between literary studies and modern biographical practices, especially in the light of the autobiography’s role in the memory construction of individual and collective identities. They are also acquainted with the history of autobiographical discourse in Slovenia from its early beginnings to modern manifestations.
Content (syllabus outline)
According to the modern conception, life writing as a subfield of life narratives includes a multitude of literary, “semi-literary,” and non-literary genres, such as autobiography, biography, memoirs, diaries, and letters. Modern life writing theory and practice are presented from the perspective of literary studies. The central genre-related concepts of modern life writing and distinctions between them are elucidated in detail, and the role of life writing in the memory reconstruction of individual and collective identities is explained. Special attention is dedicated to autobiographical discourse in Slovenia from its early manifestation to the present.
- Anderson, Linda. Autobiography. London: Routledge, 2001.
- Bandelj, David. V iskanju jaza: Teorija in praksa dnevniške književnosti. Koper: Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče, Univerzitetna založba Annales, 2013.
- Jensen, Meg, and Jane Jordan. Life Writing: The Spirit of the Age and the State of the Art. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
- Koron, Alenka, and Andrej Leben, eds. Avtobiografski diskurz: Teorija in praksa avtobiografije v literarni vedi. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2011.
- Lee, Hermione. Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Leben, Andrej. O avtobiografiji z vidika sodobne genologije in sistemske teorije. Primerjalna književnost, 30.1 (2007). 83–95.
- Marcus, Laura. Autobiographical Discourse: Theory, Criticism, Practice. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Olney, James, ed. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.
- Ricœr, Paul. Sebe kot drugega. Transl. Nastja Skrušny Babin. Ljubljana: KUD Apokalipsa, 2011.
- Smith, Sidonie, and Julia Watson. Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.
- Active participation in lectures and seminars.
- Students must write a term paper in order to take the exam.
- Students then take an oral exam on all of the material covered in the course.