Writing About Literature: Origin Stories (Online)

Section 02
Anne Myers
Course Description

In this asynchronous online class, we will explore the concept of the “origin story.” Often applied to superheroes to explain the emergence of their extraordinary identity and powers, the term also captures the way that origins, making and remaking, birth and re-birth, are central to literary works in many genres and periods. We’ll read a variety of works that either search for or return to origins, including Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home, Yaa Gyasi’s novel Homegoing, and Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection Native Guard. These texts explore how history both creates and erases identity and reality: of characters, authors, nations, individuals and social and familial groups. Students will also be introduced to a variety of critical and theoretical lenses for the study of literature. 

Assignments will include weekly readings, short online lectures and discussion boards. Students will also be guided through the steps necessary to conduct literary research and to produce a substantial (7-10 page) literary analysis paper by the end of the term. By participating in all parts of the course, students will become more confident scholars and interpreters of literature by the end of the semester.

Optional Zoom office hours and conferences will be available each week.