4 Credit Hours
It's been said that we are living in "the age of memoir"--a boom in autobiographical writing. Memoir has moved from the state of a "stepchild" among genres into a burgeoning literary form, and the trend is just as evident in Ireland as in the United States. This course will teach the genre more generally by examining individual works of Irish memoir, including Nuala O'Faolain's ARE YOU SOMEBODY?, Frank McCourt's ANGELA'S ASHES, and John McGahern's ALL WILL BE WELL. We might also include such boundary-crossing works as Eavan Boland's essay collection, OBJECT LESSONS, and memoirs that feature immigration and ethnicity in America. Irish life stories--whether sad, funny, or both at once--provide a rich resource for understanding the contemporary memoir. By reading and examining a variety of works, students will at the same time engage with current debates about the nature of life-writing, including issues of privacy, the lines between fact and fiction, and the reasons for writing memoir in the first place. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. Prerequisite: ENGL 121.