Prof. Dr. Madeleine Danova, Part-time assistant Andrea Gencheva
The aim of the course is to introduce students to the development of the genre of biography and its criss-crossing today with the postmodern fiction devoted to the lives of such writers as Byron, Keats, the Shellys, Edgar A. Poe and Henry James. The problems discussed are connected to the canonization of the lives of these writers throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century and the consequent debunking and de-mythologizing of their lives by postmodern writers. Biography is discussed as the last “battle field” of the never ending war between fact and fiction, as the last “fortress” to be conquered by the “pastiche” imagination and the interplay of codes of interpretation that have become the staples of postmodern culture. The works discussed include novels by Peter Ackroyd, Anthony Burgess, David Lodge, Colm Toibin, Emma Tennant, Mathew Pearl, Louis Bayard and John Crowley.
Class participation: 25%
Term paper: 50 %