THE SELF - Reading List 12

La Piccioletta Barca

Whatever we write about - whether the subject is heavy weight boxing or the birds of the Pacific Northwest - we can't help but reveal who we are. How much more must we reveal when our subject is that very self that's doing the writing? This discussion focused on the ways writers and artists grapple with the infinitely complex and multifaceted reality of themselves.

1. How does the idea of a 'self' relate to literary style?

2. What different aspects of having a self do these texts address?

3. To what extent can literature help one construct a self?

4. What writers would you most want to be friends with?

5. In what ways might the sense we get of a writer's personality be false or difficult to access?

6. Would it be possible to have a writing style stripped of a 'self' that writes it?


Bluets by Maggie Nelson (prose and poetry, also made up of a list):


'On Self Respect' by Joan Didion:

'The Death of the Moth' by Virginia Woolf:

'The Stunt Pilot' by Annie Dillard:

'Dear Me' by Ann Napolitano


Side Effects of Being Dunked On' by Evan J. Massey:


'Self Portrait with Two Pupils' by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard


What is Butoh?:

Prose Poem

Excerpt from 'Citizen' by Claudia Rankine

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