This course is not just for Writing and Literature students, as it considers the impact of writing on all kinds of writers.
Writers develop their thinking, feeling and perception through their writing throughout their life, in interaction with their experiences. Their attention, modes of representation, stances, thoughts, evaluations, conclusions and senses of how the world fits together and work are all focused and elaborated when they write. The more they write and the more they work carefully to craft their writing, the more they form distinctive modes of consciousness, distinctive ways of thinking for themselves and to represent to others. This is true whether they are philosophers, scientists, business people or novelists and poets—or even people just writing personal journals. This starts in youth as people first engage with writing and continue throughout their education, careers, and personal lives. To begin to unpack the complex puzzle of how this happens and what its implications are we need tools of careful reading, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, and history.
In this course we will start to engage this puzzle through the autobiographies of writers, both literary and non-literary, as well as some research and theory from writing and literacy studies, psychology, sociology, literary studies and history, among others. Also each participant, using the resources of the library special collections, will look into the archives of one writer to see what can be discovered and will also engage in some autobiographical reflection to understand what kind of writer they are becoming.