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First-Year Writing Seminar: Writing the Self

Semester and Year FA 2010
Course Number FIRST-UG375
Section 001
Instructor Robert Huddleston
Days Mon,Wed
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Sylvia Plath writes: “There is no terminus, only suitcases / Out of which the same old self unfolds like a suit / Bold and shiny, with pockets of wishes, / Notions and tickets, short circuits and folding mirrors.” Rather than simply telling the truth, autobiography is a complicated mirage of wish fulfillment and creative self-fashioning. As Plath suggests, a life can never be fully told; its narration is an ongoing journey of self-discovery where the lies one tells and the style one uses are just as revealing as the truth about what happened. In this course, we consider how writers tell the story of themselves by selecting certain events and images, how writers use their writing to come to self-awareness, and how writers cover up or omit important facts in the construction of selves. Students will write and revise three essays and a longer literary-critical essay. Readings may include selections from works by such authors as Farad Ud-Din Attar, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank, Edwidge Danticat, Allen Ginsberg, and Ishmael Beah.

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
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