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False Confessions: The Birth of the First Person

COM 385/MED 385

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The course aims to trace the origins of the first person in the Western literary tradition through the lens of confession, both as discourse and sacrament. By examining a series of texts that date from the late 12th century till the late 14th century, the course will consider how authors staged (oftentimes false) confessions in a bid to test the relation between the first person and truth as well as to claim a novel authority for fiction. By pairing medieval literary and theological texts with contemporary criticism, the course will try to understand how this period paved the way for our understanding of the first person and its discourses.
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Section S01