Books of Memory and Forgetting
What stories does memory tell? How do they take shape and what do they highlight and keep hidden? In this course, we'll read recent novels and some theory centered in thinking about the forms, politics, and emotions of personal memory as they happen in literature and in life. We'll ask such questions as: What if you're haunted by the place you came from? Does nostalgia filter out the painful past? How are shame and guilt related to memory? What happens if you repress your most powerful feelings? Does current joy depend on past sadness? When does memory of love create obsession? Novelists for the course may include Toni Morrison, Chang-Rae Lee, and Nicole Krauss among others. Come expecting lively conversation and differences of opinion. You'll be doing some short exploratory writing, an annotated bibliography, a longer paper and a class presentation.