Reading and Writing: Autofiction (LIT4522.01)

Benjamin Anastas

The term “autofiction” originated in France in the late 1970s to describe a certain kind of knowing, renegade, and mock-heroic school of autobiographical fiction that fell somewhere between William Burroughs and Marcel Proust. It was “writing before or after literature,” meaning its pretensions were so pure as to be somehow super-literary—the ordinary terms (autobiographical fiction, bildungsroman, thinly veiled memoir, etc.) were too exhausted to apply. Right now we’re living through an explosion of autofiction, and we’ll read widely in this relatively new genre (Rachel Cusk, Sheila Heti, Chris Kraus, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Tao Lin) while also reading important precursors from B.S. Johnson to James Baldwin and Curzio Malaparte. Students will write their own works of autofiction in various lengths and styles and refine them in regular workshops.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Prerequisites:Interested students should submit a writing sample to by May 26, 2020. Accepted students will be notified by email on May 28, 2020.
Corequisites: Students in this class are required to attend Literature evenings on Wednesday nights, including Poetry at Bennington events. All students may apply for multiple 4000-level Reading and Writing Courses in the same term, but, once accepted, may only enroll in one 4000-level Reading and Writing course per term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W/F 8:30AM-12:10PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

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