6 sessions, in-person meetings
Every Other Week Every other Wednesday, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm February 13 to April 24, 2019
The memoir is one of literature’s most popular forms. But André Aciman, the author of the seminal memoir, Out of Egypt, admitted in an essay after his book was published that some of what he wrote was actually fiction. “Fiction grounded me in a way that the truth could never have done,” Aciman writes.
Over the course of six sessions, we’ll be discussing the nature of memory itself, and whether the memoirist owes his or her readers the truth. We’ll also be examining the difference between the memoir and the autobiographical novel, and the uses of memory in the creation of fiction.
The center of the course will be the participants’ own writing – projects that are already underway and those that are in the beginning stages. We will work on creating a dramatic arc from our memories, writing dialogue, fashioning scenes and other aspects of the craft.
Dinitia Smith has published four novels, including the autobiographical novel, Remember This, and most recently, The Honeymoon, a biographical novel about the 19th. Century author, George Eliot. Smith’s short fiction has appeared in many magazines, and for eleven years, she was an arts correspondent for the New York Times, writing on the literary world. She has taught writing in the M.F.A. programs at Columbia University and SUNY Stony Brook, at Barnard College, New York University, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and other places.
The Honeymoon: A Novel of George Eliot
By Dinitia Smith
Based on the life of George Eliot, famed author of Middlemarch, this captivating account of Eliot s passions and tribulations explores the nature of love in its many guises
Dinitia Smith s spellbinding novel recounts George Eliot s honeymoon in Venice in June 1880 following her marriage to a handsome young man twenty years her junior. When she agreed to marry John Walter Cross, Eliot was recovering from the death of George Henry Lewes, her beloved companion of twenty-six years. Eliot was bereft: left at the age of sixty to contemplate profound questions about her physical decline, her fading appeal, and the prospect of loneliness.
In her youth, Mary Ann Evans who would later be known as George Eliot was a country girl, considered too plain to marry, so she educated herself in order to secure a livelihood. In an era when female novelists were objects of wonder, she became the most famous writer of her day with a male nom de plume. The Honeymoon explores different kinds of love, and of the possibilities of redemption and happiness even in an imperfect union. Smith integrates historical truth with her own rich rendition of Eliot s inner voice, crafting a page-turner that is as intelligent as it is gripping.”
By Dinitia Smith
The Illusionist is the sensuous and haunting tale of Dean Lily, an amateur magician whose arrival in Sparta, New York, upsets the landscape of this small town on the wane. Dean, a master of the sleight of hand, is also a master of seduction and charm—which becomes apparent as he woos and wins the hearts of more than one of Sparta’s female citizens.
But the enigmatic newcomer has more to hide than the tricks of his trade—his mysterious identity as a transgendered person, and his closely guarded privacy arouse suspicion and jealousy—and while he cures Sparta of its midwinter ennui, he also unleashes a destructive force that rocks the foundations of this town to its core. Inspired in part by a true story, The Illusionist is a fiercely erotic novel that thwarts conventions of gender and love.2 .
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm December 18, 2019
Recent Irish Literature: The Nightmare and Dream of History$150
Once a month Thursdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm January 30 to May 28, 2020
Reading Group: Roberto Bolaño’s 2666$150
Every Three Weeks Wednesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm February 12 to May 6, 2020
Proust I with Damion Searls – Spring Term$250
Once a month Thursdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm February 20 to June 25, 2020
Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South$140
Once a month Tuesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm February 25 to May 26, 2020
Graham Greene: Belief and Doubt$160
Once a month Wednesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm February 26 to June 24, 2020
Dystopian Fiction, Past and Present$140
Once a month Tuesdays, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm March 10 to June 2, 2020