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Washington and Lee University    
  Dec 14, 2017
2017-2018 University Catalog
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ENGL 309 - Advanced Creative Writing: Memoir

Credits: 3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring

Prerequisite: Three credits in 200-level English and instructor consent. Flannery O'Connor once said that any writer who could survive childhood had enough material to write about for a lifetime. Memoir is a mosaic form, utilizing bits and pieces from autobiography, fiction, essay and poetry in ways that allow the author to muse (speculate, imagine, remember, and question) on their own life experiences. Modern literary memoir requires tremendous work from the author, as she moves both backward and forward in time, re-creates believable dialogue, switches back and forth between scene and summary, and controls the pace and tension of the story with lyricism or brute imagery. In short, the memoirist keeps her reader engaged by being an adept and agile storyteller. This is not straight autobiography. Memoir is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one's life than about chronicling an entire life. Like a mosaic, memoir is about the individual pieces as much as the eventual whole. Work focuses on reading established memoirists, free writing, and workshopping in and out of class. Miranda.

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