Fall 2022

Lives on the Page

Listed in: English, as ENGL-311


Alicia J. Mireles Christoff (Section 01)
Judith E. Frank (Section 01)


This course examines the way writers commit their own lives to the page and the many interesting hybrids that, falling somewhere in between fiction and non-fiction, writers have been experimenting with of late. Why have these hybrid forms become so dominant in the literary world? How do the assumptions and expectations we bring to fiction differ from those we bring to non-fiction? Why are forms that play with the relation between these forms so popular right now?  What do they offer us, emotionally and intellectually? And what can they illuminate about literature, identity, the politics of representation, and social justice? This course will include a combination of critical and creative writing, and will approach readings on the level of craft so that we are always thinking of ourselves both as readers and as writers. Possible readings include: David Vann, Legend of a Suicide; Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts; Jeannette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?; James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain; Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her; Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend; Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle; Michelle Tea, Black Wave; Beyoncé, Lemonade.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professors Christoff and Frank.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to English majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work

ENGL 311 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM WEBS 217
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM WEBS 217

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
My Struggle, Book 1 FSG Karl Ove Knausgaard Amherst Books TBD
The Argonauts Graywolf Press Maggie Nelson Amherst Books TBD
My Brilliant Friend Europa Editions Elena Ferrante Amherst Books TBD
This is How You Lose Her Riverhead Junot Diaz Amherst Books TBD
Leave Society Vintage Tao Lin Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2022