|Delivery Type||Delivery length / details|
|Seminars / Tutorials||1 x 2 hour weekly seminar/workshop|
|Assessment Type||Assessment length / details||Proportion|
|Semester Assessment||PORTFOLIO 1: 3000 WORDS Students will produce a porfolio of fiction, non fiction and/or poetry, together with a 1000 word commentary. The creative element will consist of 2000 words of prose or eight pages of poetry or a mixture of the two whose length will be calculated on the basis that one page of poetry is equivalent to 250 words of prose, e.g. a portfolio containing 1000 words of prose would need four pages of poetry.||50%|
|Semester Assessment||PORTFOLIO 2: 3000 WORDS Students will produce a porfolio of fiction, non fiction and/or poetry, together with a 1000 word commentary. The creative element will consist of 2000 words of prose or eight pages of poetry or a mixture of the two whose length will be calculated on the basis that one page of poetry is equivalent to 250 words of prose, e.g. a portfolio containing 1000 words of prose would need four pages of poetry.||50%|
|Supplementary Assessment||RESUBMIT FAILED MATERIAL Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements|
On completion of this module, students should be able to
1) demonstrate competency in locating and handling historical and biographical resources such as letters, diaries, journals, and notebooks;
2) demonstrate an awareness of different theories and approaches to constructing autobiography and biography; and discuss intelligently the relationship between fiction and biography
3) reflect an understanding of these concepts in the actual composition of biographical / autobiographical / elegiac pieces.
`Life-writing? is increasingly a distinct and significant subgenre of creative writing. This module aims to integrate critical theories and techniques of biography and autobiography with weekly writing tasks.
This module explores the relationship between life and art in the writing of biography and autobiography. Integrated weekly writing tasks will challenge students to incorporate in their own creative practice relevant concepts discussed in seminar. The module begins by considering practical questions such as the efficient use, analysis, and accessing of biographical resources. At the heart of the module will be a focus on creative strategies and narrative theories employed by leading authors and critics of biography and autobiography. The class will investigate together notions of cultural myth, human identity, celebrity, and imposture. Weekly tasks include the writing of brief biographical and autobiographical sketches, the plotting of a creative non-fiction project, and the composition of elegies and obituaries.
Raw Materials: reading and writing diaries, journals, notebooks and letters
Accessing historical and biographical sources; analysing letters, diaries, and journals. Students will be asked to keep a journal throughout the course. Indicative bibliography would include selections from a wide range of authors, including excerpts of diaries from Samuel Pepys, letters from John Keats, journal entries from Dorothy Wordsworth and notebook entries from S. T. Coleridge.
Writing tasks for weeks 1 and 2: given a small dossier of extracts from the letters, diaries, and/or journals from a particular historical figure over a short period of days or weeks, students will be asked to write a two-page excerpt for a hypothetical biography incorporating that raw material.
Weeks 3 and 4
Life into Art: reading and writing biography
Biography as literary form; relationship between biography and fiction. Indicative bibliography would include extracts from Dr Johnson's Life of Savage, Richard Holmes's Dr Johnson and Mr Savage, and/or Claire Tomalin's The Invisible Woman: Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens.
Writing tasks for weeks 2 and 3: given a factual representation of an event from a given life, students will be asked to construct a livelier, novelized version of the incident. Especial focus will be placed on problems of embellishment and verisimilitude.
Weeks 5 and 6
Art into Life: reading and writing autobiography
Changing ideas about subjectivity; autobiography and race / gender. Indicative bibliography would include extracts from The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas and Wordsworth's Two-Part Prelude;
Writing tasks for weeks 5 and 6: bearing in mind concepts of autobiographical framing discussed in seminar, students will be asked to retrieve an incident from childhood or adolescence and to present it as an episode from a hypothetical autobiography.
Weeks 7 and 8
A Constructive Life: the rise of inventive non-fiction and creative biography
What constitutes a `life'?; creating fiction from fact/fact from fiction. Indicative bibliography would include Edward Platt's Leadville: A Biography of the A40 (Picador, 2000) and Charles Seife's Zero: the Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Penguin, 2000);
Writing tasks for weeks 7 and 8: swerving from conventional anthropomorphic notions of what constitutes a life, students will be asked creatively to select a unique subject - an idea perhaps, such as `evolution', an event, such as `the Battle of Trafalgar', or a painting, such as `Guernica', etc. - about which they will briefly plot, or outline a hypothetical biography.
Weeks 9 and 10
Matters of Life and Death: reading and writing elegies and epitaphs
Relationship between literature and loss / literature and memory. Indicative bibliography would include leading examples from the genre including Milton's Lycidas, as well as significant discussions of it, such as Wordsworth's Essay on Epitaphs.
Writing tasks for weeks 9 and 10: bearing in mind concepts linking death, memory, and literature introduced in seminar, students will be asked to write either a verse elegy or prose obituary/tribute resonating relevant themes discussed.
This module is at CQFW Level 6