From Augustine’s Confessions to Dante’s New Life, medieval writers developed creative means of telling their life stories. This course tracks medieval life-writing from Augustine and Dante to later figures such as Margery Kempe—beer brewer, mother of fourteen, and self-proclaimed saint—Thomas Hoccleve, author of the first description of a mental breakdown in English literature, and Christian convert to Islam Anselmo Turmeda/‘Abd Allāh al-Turjumān. In these texts, life writing is used for everything from establishing a reputation to recovering from trauma to religious polemic. The course will also explore how medieval life writing can help us to understand 21st century practices of self-representation, from selfies to social media.
Any 6.0 credits