Life as Literature

Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

This program’s goal is to help you become a more skillful and inventive interpreter, a better reader, and ultimately, a more adept writer. We will learn about outsider writing, and experiment with contemporary forms of creative self-publishing, such as zine making. We will read poetic, dramatic, and narrative works as well as essays. We will study and practice various methods of interpretation of literary texts, focusing on works of autobiography, self-portraiture, and self-creation as alter-ego.

The outsider philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once confided in a letter that his only home was between the lines of his writing on the page. What does it mean to write yourself into being? This program will investigate the complex relationships between an author, the reader, and her pages: who or what speaks in a literary work? What emerges through a reader’s work of interpretation—a new work, a translation? How does identity shape methods and forms of expression? Can the words of the individual inspire shifts in societal thought?

Readings will include, among others, Aimé Césaire’s Return to My Native Land ; Emily Dickinson’s poems; Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud; Audre Lorde's Zami A New Spelling of My Name ; Jean Genet’s The Miracle of the Rose ; Anaïs Nin’s Labyrinths ; Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark ; and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. Students will engage in study of interpretive methodologies, and read critical essays in philosophical and psychological approaches to literature, while also practicing self-exploration through creative writing and other expressive formats. The program is preparatory for advanced study of world literature, creative writing, and expressive arts.

Program Details

Fields of Study

literature writing

Preparatory For

literature and writing


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, September 25 at 9am (Lecture Hall 03)

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


2017-09-26This program now accepts Sophomore students.