Truthful Fictions: Biograph Novel,memoir & Biopic

LTA2015 Truthful Fictions: Biographical Novel, Memoir & Biopic
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits

What do works as disparate as Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, Spike Lee's Black KkKlansman, Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya, and Tara Westover's memoir Educated have in common? The past two decades have produced a remarkable surge in biographical fictions (what Alain Buisine coined "biofictions" in 1991). Similarly, as three-time memoirist Mary Karr argues, memoir is in its heyday, with a massive increase in readership in the past twenty years or so. And the popularity of biopics, defined by George Custen as films "minimally composed" of a life or "portion of a life" of a real person have become a tidal wave that threatens to spill over into tsunami. What explains why "true life" stories have become the go-to dinner for fiction writers? In this course, we will explore how memory and forgetting, experience and perception, fact and invention, public and private history, personal relationships, social and political forces intersect in these popular literary and cinematic forms. We will examine the myriad ways authors and directors construct an auto/biographical self, how these may differ from the selves of lived experience, and what these forms suggests about how we navigate a world in which truth is often questioned (or even under siege) and fiction may achieve an honesty that more purportedly "truthful" narratives fail to convey.

Prerequisites: (FCI1000 or AHS1000) and (WRT1001or RHT1000)

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Arts and Humanities
  • Level: Intermediate Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: LTA2015
  • Number of Credits: 4