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Curriculum

Looking Back: The Art of Memoir from 1900 to Present

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This course will offer students a chance to read memoirs and autobiographies written by some of the best authors of the last century. Some in translation, but most in English, texts will include personal narratives by people who have lived exceptional or extraordinary lives, and by others whose experiences may be more familiar to us.

Students will practice the art of the personal essay, try their hand at memoir, and examine their experiences using the many forms they will encounter in the readings. The final product will be a collection of personal writings in a variety of genres.

Texts may include: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Yellow House by Sarah Broom, Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Speak, Memory by Nabokov, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by R. Solnit.